Ants (Order: Hymenoptera) are a species of insects that date back approximately 92 million years ago. Ants are found all over the world today, and scientists have discovered 222,000 different species. They are commonly found in nature in various habitats that range from warm to cold. You can find them in wooded areas, meadows, parks, and in both urban and suburban areas. They can range in colour and size depending on their species; however, they are typically anywhere from 1 mm to 13 mm long and are either black, red, brown, or tanned. They are most distinguishable by the three parts of their body: the head, abdomen and thorax.
There are over 100 different types of ant species in Canada. However, the ones that cause the most difficulties with homeowners and commercial buildings are the carpenter ant, pharaoh ant, and pavement ants.
Carpenter ants are commonly distinguishable by their black/red colour. They can range anywhere from 6.35 mm to 12.7 mm long, of which the queen ant is the largest. Carpenter ants tend to appear during the spring and can live between 3 to 6 years.
Habitat and Behaviour
Carpenter ants will live in either moist areas or in dry wooded areas such as hollow trees. These ants are known to hunt for their food at night; however, they are also active during the day when the weather gets warmer. Carpenter ants are more likely to be attracted to your home if you have fats, greases, sweets and meats out. While their jet black appearance may seem intimidating, carpenter ants cannot sting people and are entirely harmless. In fact, they try and avoid human contact at all costs if they can.
Pharaoh ants are commonly recognized for having different colours depending on the class of their colony. For example, queens are known to be red, while the males are known to be black. The worker ants are also distinguishable by their yellow and brown tint. Pharaoh ants all have wings and have beady black eyes. While this species has wings, it is very uncommon for them to fly, and they typically lose their wings once they have mated. Pharaoh ants live in colonies with multiple queens instead of only one and can be found all year round.
Habitat and Behaviour
These ants prefer warm climates, which is why you will find them in heated and humid buildings. Each queen in a colony can lay up to 35,000 eggs during the entirety of her life. Additionally, pharaoh colonies can have anywhere up to 300,000 members. Pharaoh ants like to eat meats, dead insects and blood. However, this species of ants is also harmless and will not sting you.
Most notably seen across Canada is the pavement ant. They are recognizable by their dark red-brown colour and can grow up to 3 mm in length. What makes these ants different from other ants is that they have two spines. They also have wings which sometimes gets them confused with other insects. They generally are visible during the warmer months in spring and summer.
Habitat and Behaviour
Pavement ants will eat any food that humans eat, which is why you will see them swarm when there’s food around. They are known to take food at night and have the possibility of using the pipes and electric wires of your home or commercial building to travel in and out. You can find them on lawns and the pavement by buildings. You will also be able to find these types of ants by large bodies of water. Again, these are not a type of ant you need to worry about harming you in any way, shape, or form.
How to prevent ants in your home
Ants are generally attracted to the foods and sugars in your home; therefore, in order to prevent an ant infestation from happening in your home, here is what you can do:
- Keep your home as clean as possible.
- Vacuum and sweep crumbs from the floors.
- Make sure all your food is packaged and sealed tightly.
- Pay attention to any cracks in your foundation, windows or door frames and make sure they are sealed.
How to get rid of ants in your home
If you are dealing with an ant problem, here are some of the DIY methods you can try to get rid of your pest infestation:
- Ant traps
- Natural gum resins to apply at the base of your trees that will attract the ants away from your home
While these methods may help reduce the number of ants you have, you may be dealing with a larger colony of ants. These methods also take time and money out of your day. Therefore, we always suggest clients have a professional team of pest control services providers come by their homes and evaluate the situation. Here at Vanquish Pest Control, we are well-equipped ad highly knowledgeable when it comes to any infestations.
If you would like a free home evaluation and quote, call our experts today to book your appointment.