Ant Species in Massachusetts, Animals

Ant Species in Massachusetts

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Ants in Massachusetts are common, with many different species finding their way to indoor locations. While they do not cause much damage to homes, ants can become major pests when indoors. They can occasionally bite, but more often they get inside homes and cause a mess, getting into trash and leftover food, and finding ways to get onto tables and counters.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a common household pest in Massachusetts. Carpenter ants are black and shiny, and large in size compared to other ants. They range from one-fourth to three-fourths of an inch. The fertile male and female carpenter ants, commonly found in late spring or early summer, will have wings. Carpenter ants are known for destroying wood, and once inside homes, these ants will borough into the wood to create nests. They can slowly cause a lot of damage to homes but are more commonly found outdoors in areas where falling trees or decaying wood is located.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants are also found in Massachusetts. Acrobat ants get their names from the way their worker ants carry there abdomen above the head and thorax. Most acrobat ants are one-eighth of an inch long, with the queen ant reaching lengths of three-eighths of an inch. They are normally light brown to black but can be multicolored. They are common outdoors where they nest under rocks, under logs, in firewood piles or in trees. When indoors, acrobat ants prefer moist wood or wood that is starting to have fungal decay. They will feed on dead and live insects. They will also feed on honeydew from aphids and mealybugs.

Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are found in Massachusetts, and they get their name because of the disagreeable odor that arises from them when worker ants are crushed. The odor has been described as similar to rotten coconuts. Odorous house ants are most commonly found nesting in soil outdoors under mulch, debris, rocks, logs and other things of that nature. They will live indoors in warm and moist areas, particularly in wall and floor voids. These ants are about one-eighth of an inch in length and are dark brown. They will feed on dead insects, sweets, meats and the honeydew from aphids and mealybugs.

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are one of the more common ants found in Massachusetts’ homes. They are small, with worker ants only being .1 to .16 inches in length. They can vary in color from dark brown to black. The reproductive ants are winged and about twice the size of the worker ants. Most colonies are located under sidewalks and building slabs. They often enter homes through cracks in foundation walls. They will eat many different types of foods including sweets, fruits, dead insects and small seeds.

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Types of Ants: Eight Common Invaders

While there are more than 12,000 known species of ant, only a handful are a threat to your home’s privacy. Learn more about the different types of ants.

Ants occur in wide variety over all regions of the world. They have a vast number of different species. In fact, more than 12,000 different ant species have been identified. But while their ranks are large, only a small fraction of these species are considered home invading pests.

Determining the types of ants in your home depends on a number of factors, including appearance, habitat and the region where you live. An ant’s body can have one or two nodes, or «humps,» on its thorax which helps identify the species. Species vary in both size and color as well. Some ants can bite and some can sting, while others, such as the fire ant, can both bite and sting. Below is a list of ant species commonly found in or near homes, according to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis.

Acrobat ants (Crematogaster)

Worker ants are about 2.5 to 3 millimeters long with two nodes. Their color varies from yellow-brown to brown and red-black to all black. They nest outside, primarily in moist wood and inside damaged wood structures, and sometimes in foam panel insulation. When threatened, worker ants of this species will lift their abdomens above their heads, resembling a scorpion. As they run with their abdomen held in the air, it gives the appearance that they are tumbling, hence the name, «acrobat ant.» These types of ants are aggressive and will sting, although they are not frequent indoor invaders. They are commonly found throughout the Eastern United States.

Argentine ants (Linepithema humile)

Worker ants are about 2.2 to 2.8 millimeters long and have one node. Their color varies from light to dark brown. Outdoors, they nest in a variety of areas throughout the winter and in shadier spots during the summer. Indoors, they are sometimes found in wall insulation or voids. If stepped on, workers emit a musty smell. These ant types do not have the ability to sting. They are most commonly found throughout the Southeastern United States, California and Hawaii.

Asian needle ant (Pachycondyla chinensis)

Worker ants are about 5 millimeters long and have one node. They are brown-black with dark orange mandibles, and mostly nest outdoors in shaded areas with high moisture. This species is less aggressive to neighboring ant colonies than other ant types. It will sting if pressed against human skin or trapped in clothes. This happens most often during swarm season, which is between July and August. Its sting can be painful and sometimes causes a welt. A small number of cases where humans were stung resulted in anaphylactic shock. It is most commonly found in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Carpenter ants (Camponotus)

Multiple variations of this species exist across the United States. These types of ants rank high as structural pests. Due to such large variety, their physical description can be broad. The average length of workers is between 6 and 13 millimeters. Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood, but rather excavate it in order to create nests. The primary nest of these ants is typically outside, in trees or lumber. Indoors, they prefer roofs and woodwork near moisture. Homes in woodlands are at the most risk for structural damage. Some species are aggressive and will sting if their nest is disturbed.

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Crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis)

Workers are 2.2 to 3 millimeters long with one node. They are black-brown with extremely long legs and antennae. These types of ants are non-discriminatory nesters, forming colonies in moist or dry environments. Outdoors, they nest in plants, soil, heavy vegetation, mulch and garbage. Indoors, they can be found under carpets, in wall voids and in houseplants. Crazy ants do not have stingers, but will move around sporadically if disturbed, thus earning their name. They are spread throughout the United States and are especially common along the Gulf Coast. Other common species in this subfamily include the Caribbean crazy ant (Nylanderia pubens) and the robust crazy ant (Nylanderia bourbonica). All are considered major home invaders, the latter two primarily existing in Florida.

Dark rover ants (Brachymyrmex patagonicus)

The average length of this ant is about 1.6 millimeters. They have one node for their body and are medium to dark brown in color. They are commonly found in areas near people, and nest outdoors by grass edges, under objects on the ground and in parking lots. Indoor nests are sometimes found in bathrooms and kitchens. Dark rover ants have a preference for sweet liquids. Their large colony size can make them a nuisance, although they do not sting. They are commonly found in Florida, southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. They have also been reported in South Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

European fire ant (Myrmica rubra)

Workers are about 4 to 5 millimeters long. These ants have two nodes and can vary in color, although most are a light reddish-brown. During warmer months, this species of ant forms nests in a wide range of outdoor habitats including gardens, lawns and shrubbery. They may form nests inside during cold months, particularly under bath tubs, water heaters or other warm areas with moisture. European fire ants are aggressive and can produce a painful sting when disturbed. Infestations of these ants have been reported in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Canada.

Field ant (Formica)

Workers vary in size from 4 to 8 millimeters long. They have one node and also come in a variety of colors including black, brown, yellow-brown and mixed red. This species of ant forms nests mostly in open areas of soil, dead wood or greenery. They are not commonly found indoors. Field ants have stingers and the ability to spray formic acid, which can induce a small amount of pain. They are common in the Northeast and Midwest United States.

Many other ant species exist. They are largely considered pests because of their ability to produce large colonies, and their habit of foraging for food indoors. Some are more of a threat than others. Ants have the ability to transmit disease organisms through the contamination of food or sterile objects. Their stings can be painful and, in rare circumstances, lead to anaphylactic shock. Carpenter ants also have the ability to cause damage to wood structures.

Are you concerned about ants in your home or yard? Identifying the types of ants you are dealing with can be a challenge. Treatment can vary depending on the species. For proper identification and a comprehensive solution, contact Terminix.

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Ants 101

A Guide to Identifying Common Types of Ant Species

There is one houseguest that no one wants, but nearly everyone gets — ants! A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) revealed that various types of ants are everywhere. In fact, ants have been deemed the #1 nuisance pest in America.

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With more than 700 types of ant species in the United States, it’s not surprising that ants can quickly become a source of disgust, frustration and concern for homeowners. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that these pests can also pose health and property risks — from food contamination to costly property damage.

Luckily, there are many ways to effectively reduce the potential development of a major ant infestation. To prevent these unwelcome visitors from invading your home, eliminate moisture or standing water near the home by repairing leaking hose bibs and other supply lines, downspouts, drain lines and air conditioner condensate lines. Also, keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house, as ants often use these branches to get into homes.

Homeowners must pay close attention to signs of an infestation and take action if ants are found. The first step to eliminating an infestation is to identify the types of antsant species, which will help determine the necessary course of treatment. However, this can be a challenge for someone without proper training. You should contact a pest control professional to assist with the pest problem, but you can also use this guide to help determine the ant species:

Types of Ants

Argentine Ants

  • Appearance: Argentine ants are dark brown and between 1/16-1/4 inch in size.
  • Region: This species is found mainly throughout the southeastern United States.
  • Habitat: Argentine ant colonies are located in wet environments near a food source.
  • Threat: Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and excrete a musty odor when crushed

Carpenter Ants

  • Appearance: Carpenter ants are usually reddish black in color and 5/8 inch in size.
  • Region: This species is located throughout the United States, but is most common in cool, damp climates found in the northern part of the country.
  • Habitat: Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources and frequently enter buildings through damaged wood, cracks around doors and windows, or holes in a structure meant for wires. They will also crawl along shrubs or tree limbs that touch a structure far above the ground.
  • Threat: Carpenter ants can cause severe property damage as they tunnel through wood to build nests. However, the extent and cost the damage usually depends on the number of nests inside the structure and how long they’ve been active.

Crazy Ants

  • Appearance: Caribbean crazy ants get their common name from the worker’s habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food. Crazy ants are dark brown to black in color with a gray sheen. They range from 1/16-1/8 inch in size.
  • Region: Crazy ants are found throughout the United States as this species is highly adaptable to both dry and moist habitats.
  • Habitat: Crazy ants tend to enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce the supply of honeydew — their main food source. Inside, these ants usually nest underneath floors or carpeting. Outdoors, the nests are shallow and commonly found in soil under objects or next to foundations.
  • Threat: These ants do not pose a health threat, but if they gain entry to a structure, they can become a nuisance.

Odorous House Ants

  • Appearance: Odorous house ants are dark brown to black in color and range in size from 1/16-1/8 inch.
  • Region: This species is found in all regions of the United States.
  • Habitat: Typically living for several years, odorous house ants are known to make their homes in exposed soil. They also nest in walls cracks and under floors inside homes.
  • Threat: These ants do not pose a public health risk or cause structural damage to buildings, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided. In addition, they give off a rotten coconut-like smell when crushed, which is why they are known as «odorous» ants.

Pavement Ants

  • Appearance: Pavement ants are darkish brown to black in color and are about 1/8 inch long.
  • Region: This species is found throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. They can infest structures by entering through holes in the concrete.
  • Threat: These black pavement ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.

Red Imported Fire Ants

  • Appearance: Fire ants are dark reddish brown in color and range from 1/8-3/8 inch long.
  • Region: This species is found in the southern United States from Maryland to Texas, California and New Mexico.
  • Habitat: Red imported fire ants build their nest mounds outdoors in landscape areas or near a structural foundation. They can also gain entry to a building through holes or cracks in the exterior structure.
  • Threat: Red imported fire antsattack with a painful sting when their nests are disturbed. The sting often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Anyone allergic to insect stings will react more severely.

Ants are social insects that live in large colonies, so what may seem like a small infestation can quickly become a major pest problem for homeowners. If you suspect an ant infestation, don’t wait to take action. Infestations of all types of ants will continue to grow without proper treatment. Rather, be sure to contact a licensed pest professional to assist in proper identification and treatment of the species.

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The different species of ants in Arizona

In Arizona, ants are among the most abundant insects that play an important role in the ecosystem. Ants make a positive contribution to their environment by helping to break down dead matter while aerating the soil. However, certain species of ants can damage property and cause painful stings. With over 300 species of ants, it can be hard to identify them all. Yet, there are several that are of significance to Arizona property owners who need to know how to identify and treat problem populations of ants.

Ants are one of the most common pests in Arizona and other states. Western Exterminator are the specialists in ant removal and ant prevention, so no matter what types of ants you have in your home, contact Western Exterminator today.

Harvester ants

Harvester ant populations in Arizona may be one of several different types of species. When left alone, these ants can be beneficial to the environment because they help to disperse seeds and serve as food for other wildlife. A harvester ant can be as large as one-half inch long and may be red, black or brown. The large mounds they create are one of their most notable characteristics, and they tend to form their colonies alongside gardens and other plant-filled areas.

Harvester ants usually only become a problem for Arizona property owners when their mounds are located near places people may encounter the ants. These ants will aggressively defend their colonies and can inflict one of the most painful stings among all ant species. Those who are allergic to their venom can experience prolonged pain and swelling that may require immediate care.

Carpenter ants

Most of the ant population is highly visible as they travel along trails to their colony, but carpenter ants can be challenging to detect. Arizona carpenter ants bore deep into wooden materials to create galleries that house their colonies. Often, carpenter ants are confused with termites; however, a close inspection can make it easy to tell them apart. Similar to other species of ants, carpenter ants have segmented bodies and bent antennae. They tend to swarm in the late spring and summer months when their mating season occurs.

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In buildings, carpenter ants tend to live deep within the interior of the structure and build large colonies that can create serious structural damage as they chew through the wood. Carpenter ants that invade buildings may require fumigation and other pest control strategies designed to minimize the damage they can cause.

Fire ants

Out of the three main species of fire ants that reside in Arizona, the Southern fire ant is the most common. According to the University of Arizona, fire ants range in size depending upon their position in the colony. Worker ants are approximately one-sixteenth of an inch long and queens can be as large as one-fourth of an inch. Fire ants range in color, but they are typically a shade of reddish-brown.

While fire ants normally build their colonies outside, they may occasionally enter buildings if they discover an easy source of fatty or sweet foods available. Fire ants are also very aggressive and an attack may involve many stings from multiple ants. Controlling fire ant populations will generally involve eliminating the queen and then handling subsequent mounds that are built.

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Knowing the different species of ants in Arizona is essential for recognizing the diversity of the state’s ecosystem. Although ants play a vital role in the environment, it is important to implement control measures when faced with aggressive or destructive species of ants. By understanding when ants should be left alone to do their work and when to act, Arizona property owners can protect their health and the value of their investments while allowing non-threatening ant populations to thrive.

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How many species of ants are there in the US?

As of the time of writing, there are nearly 1000 species of ants in the United States. While this may seem like a huge number, there are other countries such as Australia and Indonesia that host significantly more species of ants. Generally, the colder the climate, the fewer species of ants to be found.

Countries near both the North and South poles with polar climates may have as few as 1 species of ant, while tropical countries like Indonesia may have up to a whopping 1500 species of ants within their boundaries. Our northern neighbor, Canada, has significantly fewer species of ants – around 200, which may be due in most part to its colder climate.

Even in the US, the number of species of ants that can be found varies from state to state. Again, climate plays a big part in determining this. Chilly Maine, for example, has way fewer species of ants than humid Louisiana. The number of species of ants that is actually visible is an entirely different matter. Most ants come in two colors, black or red, and most species do not have defining physical characteristics that may make it easier to differentiate them from other species.

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The Different Types of Ants in Florida

Florida is home to many different species of ants . Some are more destructive than others, and some pose a significant health threat to humans while others are harmless, yet annoying and unsightly. If you have ants in your home, an experienced ant pest control professional can identify the species present and create a customized extermination plan for them. Do not live among ants any longer – you deserve to live in a clean, pest-free environment.

Below are four of the many types of ant that call Florida their home. Once you determine the species in your home, you can work with a pest control professional to identify where the infestation started, where the ants are currently nesting, and how to avoid attracting ants in the future.

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red imported fire ants , often known simply as fire ants, are red in color. They measure 1.6 to 5 millimeters long.

Their name comes from the fact that the ants are not native to North America. They were first imported to the United States in the 1930s and today can be found throughout the southern United States. They nest outdoors and display an aggressive demeanor. A fire ant will sting a human or animal much larger than itself, and these stings can be fatal. The most common sign of a fire ant infestation is the presence of worker ants.

Thief Ants

Thief ants are one of the smallest ant species, measuring only 1.5 to 2.2 millimeters long. They are yellow to brown in color.

Thief ants consume proteins like nuts, cheese, and meat. When they are in the home, they can transmit pathogens to humans. The presence of a worker thief ant is generally a sign of an infestation.

Ghost Ants

Ghost ants measure 1.3 to 1.5 millimeters long. They have pale legs and abdomens that contrast with their dark heads and thoraxes. The most common sign of a ghost ant infestation is the presence of one or more ghost ants in a home or outside. They do not sting and generally do not bite, and when they do bite, the worst a victim can experience is some discomfort.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants live in moist, decaying wood. When they are in your home, they can threaten the home’s structural integrity, potentially costing you tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.

Carpenter ants measure 3.4 to 13 millimeters. They can be brown, black, or red and black in color. They make their nests close to moisture and food sources, often in voids in walls. Signs of an infestation include a faint rustling noise in the wall and piles of wood shavings.

Ants in the House? Work with an Experienced Wellington Exterminator

Getting rid of ants yourself can be expensive, time-consuming, and at times, feel futile. Get the job done safely and efficiently by working with an experienced Wellington pest control company . Contact Empire Pest Defense today to set up your initial consultation with us, during which we will examine your infestation and create a customized pest control plan that to help you take back your home from the ants.

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