Several kinds of ants exist. They range from 1/32 to almost an inch in length. Their coloration varies: yellowish, light brown, reddish-brown, brownish-black or jet black. Ants in general have three body parts: head, thorax and abdomen. Most ants do not have wings but sometimes swarming winged ants are confused with swarming, winged termites. To help distinguish an ant from a termite look for:
- The ant’s body to appear pinched in at the waist. Termites do not have an apparent waist.
- Ants have elbowed antennae and termites have straight bead-like antennae.
- The forewings on an ant are larger than the hind wings, and those of a termite are all the same size.
- Ants’ wings are either transparent or brownish and termites’ wings are milky-white or grayish and are longer than the body.
- Ants have firmly attached wings and termites’ wings can be easily removed or can fall off.
Ants usually live in colonies or nests in a protected place such as in the soil near a house foundation, under crawlspaces, under concrete slabs, in gardens or trees and in structural wood. Ants have three castes or social systems: queens, males, and workers. Queens and males are the reproductives. New ant colonies are started by a single fertilized Queen which lays eggs and tends her brood. When worker ants search for food they might appear in households and become pests and contaminate food.
These ants are found in 15 states ranging from California to Flordia. They are known to build huge colonies usually near a food source and will give off a musty odor when crushed. Small in size- 1/8” -1/4” long. Will contaminate food and water but are not a direct health threat.
Ants are attracted to moisture. Prevent them from coming inside by disposing of any standing water. Try to keep branches and plants trimmed and clear of your home. Also make sure crevices and cracks are filled. Argentine ants are attracted to wood, which they nest in. Keeping any wood piles and other wooden materials stored away from your house will help prevent problems with ants.