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What Ants Are In Pennsylvania?

Advice From Moyer Indoor | Outdoor

There are many ant species in Pennsylvania, but only a handful make themselves an issue for home and business owners. They squeeze in through cracks, gaps, and holes and crawl around in areas where food is prepared, stored, or eaten. While most ants do not cause damage to lawns, pavement, or man-made structures, and are widely considered beneficial insects for their ability to aerate the soil, each ant species comes with its own set of problems.

Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

Worker ants of this species range from 1/10 to 1/15 of an inch long, are dark brown to black in coloring, and have two nodes between their thorax and abdomen which, combined with their smaller size, makes it easy to differentiate them from carpenter ants.

Pavement ants are not native to Pennsylvania and are considered to be the most common house-infesting ant in the state. This is partly due to the fact that they are omnivores that can feed on a wide variety of foods. Some common foods these ants will consume are sweets, sugar, nectar, fruits, syrups, and proteins. They are known to collect dead insects, small seeds, and grease, to bring back to their nests.

These ants prefer to build their nests under sidewalks, pavement, rocks, building foundations, and in the cracks of pavement, as their name implies. When they get near to the foundation of manmade structures, they can find their way in through cracks in mortar and gaps around pipes and electrical wires.

Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile)

Worker ants of this species range from 1/16 to 1/18 of an inch in length and are monomorphic. That means these ants all share a singular structural similarity. If one worker ant is 1/16 of an inch, they will all be 1/16 of an inch. Visually, odorous house ants can be distinguished by the hint of brown in their coloring and the way their abdomen overlaps the single node at their waist.

These ants are sweet-loving ants, but they can sometimes feed on dead insects and other proteins. They prefer to make their nests under boards, rocks, and other hard objects. A nest can have hundreds, and even thousands, of individual ants living in it. And, a colony can have several queens. For this reason, improper pest control of these ants can cause the colony to split when a threat is presented.

The odorous house ant is most known for the smell they leave when they are squished. This scent is often described as rotten coconut.

Black Carpenter Ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)

Worker ants of this species range from ¼ to a ½ inch and are the largest ants you'll find crawling around inside your home. Their large size should help you easily distinguish them from odorous house ants, even though both have a single node between their thorax and abdomen. This node is also not covered by the thorax, like on the odorous house ant. It can be easily seen when observing a carpenter ant from above.

These ants establish colonies of up to 10,000 individuals, with one queen. Nests are created in rotted logs, dead trees, wood piles, sheds, outbuildings, telephone poles, and inside the walls of manmade structures. The damage they do to wood makes the carpenter ant a particular threat to property. When found, a professional pest controller should be called to do a detailed inspection, and to exterminate all ants present.

Carpenter ants are drawn to areas of moisture and are most likely to attack wood that has been softened by water. To deter these pests, remove all standing water on your property, keep leaves and sticks raked up, and establish wood piles at least 20 feet from your home.

Moyer Pest Control services many parts of Pennsylvania. If you need help controlling pest ants on your property, find out if you're in our service area. Our QualityPro certified team is looking forward to working with you to resolve your ant issue. 

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