The Pavement Ant
The Pavement Ant, also known as Tetramorium caespitum, has a distinct appearance with a dark brown or black body with pale legs and antennae. These ants have six legs ranging from 2.5 to 3.2 mm in length, and their queens can grow up to 4.2 mm long.
Pavement ants are prevalent in Colorado and other parts of North America, including Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are considered social insects and live in large colonies, which can house up to 10,000 worker ants and several queens. These ants can adapt well to their surroundings and are commonly found near human settlements, where they can quickly scavenge for food.
While pavement ants are known for nesting beneath sidewalks and pavement, they are also known to establish colonies in the soil, particularly near buildings. Their nesting behavior can cause damage to buildings and sidewalks, making them a pest in urban areas.
Pavement ants are known as opportunistic foragers and will feast on both sweet and greasy foods. Their preference for such foods makes them a nuisance in homes, restaurants, and other food establishments.
These ants are also known for their swarming behavior, particularly during the breeding season, which occurs in warmer months. During this time, winged males and females emerge from their nests to mate and establish new colonies. More about Pavement Ant Control.
The Carpenter Ant
The carpenter ant species is prevalent in Colorado and can cause significant damage to wooden structures over time. As the name suggests, build their nests in wood, which is why they are also referred to as wood-destroying ants. Despite their destructive reputation, carpenter ants do not eat the wood, but instead, hollow it out to create their nests.
It is important to note that carpenter ants work slowly and steadily, so the damage they cause can accumulate over months or even years. The longer the infestation goes unnoticed, the more extensive the damage can be. It is common for these ants to create multiple nests within a single structure, making it all the more difficult to eradicate them.
Carpenter ants are typically larger than other ant species, and they are usually black in color with tapered waists and curved antennae. They have strong, powerful jaws that are capable of tearing through wood with relative ease. These ants are known to create galleries and tunnels within the wood, which can weaken the structure over time, potentially leading to structural failure and collapse.
In terms of their diet, carpenter ants are omnivores, feeding on a variety of foods, including insects, nectar, and honeydew. They are particularly attracted to sweet, sugary foods and will usually seek out any available sources of such foods. More about Carpenter Ant Control.
The Fire Ant
Fire ants, scientifically known as Solenopsis invicta, are native to South America but have spread to many parts of the world, including the southern United States and, more recently, to Colorado. They have quickly become a nuisance and a health concern due to their painful stings and aggressive behavior. The reddish-brown ants range in size from 1/8 to 1/4 inches long and have a distinctive appearance with two nodes on their petiole.
Fire ants are eusocial insects that live in colonies, with each colony comprising a queen and several thousand workers. The queen’s main role is to lay eggs, while the workers are responsible for building and maintaining the nest, foraging for food, and protecting the colony from predators. Fire ant colonies can grow to be quite large, with some containing millions of ants.
The nests that fire ants build are typically made of soil and can reach several feet in diameter and height. They have a characteristic conical shape, and their entrances are always located at the base of the mound. Fire ants prefer to build their nests in open, sunny areas such as grasslands, pastures, and lawns. They can also infest structures such as homes, barns, and sheds.
Fire ants are omnivorous and will feed on a variety of foods including other insects, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. They are attracted to sweet and greasy foods and are often found near trash cans, picnic areas, and outdoor kitchens. To capture their prey, fire ants use their mandibles to grasp and transport it back to the colony.
One of the most significant concerns with fire ants is their painful stings. When provoked, fire ants swarm their attacker and inject venom with their stingers. The sting is immediate and can feel like a burning sensation. In some cases, the sting can cause anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. It is imperative to seek medical attention if you suspect an allergic reaction to a fire ant sting.
The Odorous House Ant
The odorous house ant, also known as Tapinoma sessile, can range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length and are typically light to dark brown in color. Unlike other ant species, the odorous house ant has a distinct odor that resembles the scent of coconut or rotten coconuts when crushed, hence their name.
These ants are known to create colonies and nests in soil, and they can also be found living in walls and crawl spaces of buildings. Once they have established a nest, they tend to forage for food, which can include sweets, fruits, and other different types of food.
One interesting fact about odorous house ants is that they can relocate their colony if their environment becomes unfavorable. They can do this by splitting up and forming new colonies in different locations. This behavior has made them particularly hard to eradicate from infested buildings.
While odorous house ants are not known to be aggressive towards humans, they can still be a nuisance when they invade homes and other indoor spaces. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods that can be employed to manage and eliminate these pests, including chemical treatments and baiting methods. More about Odorous House Ant Control.
The Pharaoh Ant
The Pharaoh ant, scientifically known as Monomorium pharaonis, is one of the most widespread ant species and is thought to have originated in Africa. They are known for their small size, measuring only 1.5mm in length, and their light brown color. They are often mistaken for other ant species due to their similar appearance but can be easily distinguished by their unique behavior.
Pharaoh ants have an incredible ability to colonize new areas quickly and efficiently. They do so by establishing satellite nests and dividing their colonies into smaller groups. This makes them more adaptable to changing conditions and allows them to spread easily in both indoor and outdoor environments.
Their preferred nesting areas are warm and humid locations, and they are commonly found in homes, hospitals, and other indoor spaces. They are attracted to sweets, meats, and other foods, which makes them particularly troublesome for homeowners and businesses alike. Pharaoh ants are also known to feed on other insects, including smaller ants, termites, and other arthropods.
Controlling Pharaoh ants can be challenging due to their quick reproduction and large colonies. They can form supercolonies, which contains thousands of individual ants. This makes it difficult to eliminate them using traditional pest control methods and often requires the assistance of a professional exterminator. More about Pharaoh Ant Control.
Other Ants on Your Property
Other ant species found in Colorado include the field ant, and the harvester ant. Each species has unique behaviors and preferences, making it essential to identify which ants are on your property accurately. Once you know which ants you’re dealing with, you can choose the best strategy to control or eliminate them.