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Most Common Types Of Ants In Pennsylvania

Advice From Moyer Indoor | Outdoor

While there are numerous types of ants here in the great state of Pennsylvania, the most common types that we have to deal with getting into our homes and businesses are the wood-destroying carpenter ant, the stinky odorous house ant, and our most common house-infesting ant, the tiny pavement ant.

Carpenter Ants (Camponotus)

These are very large (around 5/8th of an inch) black, or black to reddish ants, that can be very destructive if left alone to multiply. Numbers in a carpenter ant colony can reach as many as 10,000 individuals with one queen. The workers of this ant species range from ¼ to ½ an inch in length and are the largest type of ant you will encounter in your Pennsylvania home. They are similar to the odorous house ant in that they have a single node between their thorax and abdomen.

Carpenter ants are drawn to moisture and invade homes from the outside, usually when they find areas of wood on a structure that has been softened by water. Once inside your structure, they will chew galleries and tunnels to make nests. They do not actually eat wood, the way termites do, but they still can do a significant amount of damage to support structures, decks, porches, patios, and other wooden outbuildings, causing them to bend and warp. This can cause additional problems, if the damage is severe enough. Doors and windows may begin to stick and not open and close properly. One thing that can be done to deter carpenter ants is to remove any standing water on your property, and generally, keep your yard and the areas surrounding your house as dry as possible.

Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile)

Odorous house ants, sometimes called odorous ants, are small (1/20th to 1/16th of an inch), dark brown to black ants, that are monomorphic; they all share a singular structural similarity, which means if one is 1/16 of an inch long, then all the ants in that colony will be 1/16 of an inch long. Visually, these ants can be identified by the touch of brown in their coloring and by the way their abdomen overlaps the single node at their waist. And they have an unevenly shaped thorax when viewed from the side. Odorous house ants get their name from the smell they emit when crushed or threatened, which is similar to the smell of rotten coconuts.

Although these ants prefer eating sweet things, especially honeydew, they will also feed on dead insects or other proteins. Their nests, which can contain thousands of individuals and several queens, can usually be found under boards and rocks and other hard objects. Because of their multiple queens, these colonies will split and multiply quickly if a threat is presented. Inside buildings, these ants often will nest inside walls or beneath floors and they are most likely to invade structures when the weather is rainy. Inside or outside, these ants travel in trails, foraging day and night looking for food.

Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

These ants are similar in appearance to carpenter ants, except they are half the size at around 1/10 to 1/15 of an inch long. Reddish brown to black in color, with two nodes instead of one, these ants typically nest in the cracks and crevices of pavement and stone landscape pavers. However, they also commonly infest buildings, especially if there is a concrete slab foundation.

Though not native to Pennsylvania, they are considered to be the most common ants to infest homes in the state. They will feed on many different foods including proteins, anything sweet, and even seeds, grease, or dead insects. They will not eat away at your structure like carpenter ants will, but they do crawl all over trash and rotting animal carcasses, then bring harmful bacteria back to places in your kitchen or pantry where they can contaminate food.

Moyer Pest Control Is Here To Help!

If you are seeing ants inside your Pennsylvania home, be aware that it can be a challenge to totally get rid of them once they have invaded. Reach out to Moyer Pest Control for help today.

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