Carpenter Ants are very common pests in American homes. They are typically black in color (but can also be red, yellow, or brown), large - ¼ to ¾ of an inch in size, and the colony begins with a fertilized Queen and can reach numbers in the thousands. They are usually found in damp wood, where they form 'nests' or 'galleries'.
The areas within a house that they are most likely to be found include sills, window and doorframes, shower and tub enclosure walls, plumbing walls etc. A telltale sign of a Carpenter Ants' nest is therefore small piles of sawdust containing dead insects, droppings etc. near the entrance. In the summer months they typically move around at night, foraging for food.
- Reddish-brown in colour on the head and body, with a darker abdomen
- Come in a variety of sizes within one nest, ranging from 2mm to 6 mm
Fire ants are typically grounding nesting ants. Nests can resemble gopher mounds up to 40cm high and they will aggressively defend their soil mounded colonies. However, the southern fire ant will sometimes nest in the wood or masonry of buildings, especially in areas near the soil or warmth such as fireplace hearths. Fire ants inflict a fiery sting which can cause itching and blistering for several hours.
Inside, Pharaoh ants nest in warm areas near sources of food and/or water. Nests are usually located in inaccessible areas such as wall voids, behind base boards, in furniture, under floors, and between linens. Pharaoh ants are common problems in commercial food handling establishments such as hotels, grocery stores, hospitals, and in apartment complexes. They commonly use electrical and telephone wires as a highway system to travel through walls and between floors.