Ants have a knack for finding their way into our lives, whether invading our homes or setting up colonies in our lawns and outdoor areas.
With an astounding 136 different species of ants calling Indiana home, it’s no wonder these tiny creatures can cause headaches for residents in the Evansville area.
Out of the numerous ant species found in Indiana, there are six that you will see more often than others. Let’s take a closer look at those six species.
Starting strong with the largest ant species in the United States, carpenter ants can grow up to a half-inch long. These pests range from black to brown.
While they may not directly harm humans, they can cause significant damage to the buildings they invade. The name “carpenter ants” comes from their interesting behavior of tunneling through wood in search of nesting sites. This can be a costly issue to fix for Southern Indiana homeowners.
These ants like damp and decaying wood. It’s vital to control moisture in your surroundings. Make sure to take care of any decaying stumps or boards on your property to avoid carpenter ant infestations.
The busy season for carpenter ants happens from March to April and lasts until early fall, around September and October. Be sure to watch for these ants on your property and take action to ensure they don’t cause damage to your home.
Thief ants have earned their name because they tend to get into food packages and eat the contents inside. These tiny creatures, with their yellowish-brown coloration, have a strong attraction to proteins and greasy substances. Meaning you will often see them in pantries and kitchens.
Due to their small size, ranging between 1/32 inch to ⅛ inch, thief ants often go unnoticed in homes.
While thief ants do not sting or bite humans, they can potentially transmit diseases they pick up from their food sources, such as dead insects and insect larvae.
Thief ants are highly adaptable and can survive in various environments. They can make nests in many parts of the home, including beneath floorboards or within tiny crevices. Interestingly, they often live near other ant colonies, taking advantage of their resources.
Thief ants engage in mating swarms between June and September. During the summer months, you might spot reproductive ants indoors.
Odorous House Ants
One of the common types of ants that you may encounter is the odorous house ant. These ants are typically dark brown or black and measure about 1/8 inch in length.
When these odorous house ants make their home indoors, they usually prefer areas with high moisture levels. This can include wall voids near hot water pipes, inside heaters, beneath leaky fixtures, or in wood damaged by termites.
Outdoors, you can find them in exposed soil or under piles of firewood.
Like thief ants, odorous house ants can find plenty of food in an average Indiana home. They love sweet or sugary food sources, which may lead them to raid your kitchen and consume exposed fruits, potentially contaminating them in the process.
Fortunately, odorous house ants don’t bite or sting, but when crushed, they emit a strong, rotten odor.
Instead of squishing these tiny ants, limit their access to tempting foods. Store sweets in secure containers, take out the trash regularly, and ensure outdoor garbage bins are tightly sealed.
Although commonly seen between March and September, odorous house ants can live inside homes throughout the year. Rainy weather often increases the likelihood of odorous house ants entering buildings.
Pavement ants are often found throughout Indiana, constructing nests by piling soil on the pavement. These ants are typically brownish-black and small, measuring around 3/32 to 3/16 inches.
While they generally do not harm humans, they can bite or sting when threatened.
In natural environments, pavement ants reside under rocks and debris in meadows. However, in urban areas, they often create nests beneath patios, building foundations, and sidewalks.
Pavement ant workers may frequently enter homes, and if they discover sources of food, they can recruit other members of their colony indoors, making them a troublesome ant species. These social insects form large colonies that can consist of over 10,000 workers.
While pavement ants typically forage at night, they may also search for food during the day, particularly in early spring and summer. In Indiana, these ants are commonly seen from April through September.
While fire ants are mainly found in the southern regions of the United States, there are instances when they can be found in Indiana yards.
These red-colored ants are relatively small but can create significant issues for property owners by constructing large mounds of dirt as their nests. They breed in large numbers underground, increasing the problems they cause.
One of the notable features of fire ants is their ability to sting.
Their stings deliver a venom that induces intense pain and a burning sensation. If you are stung by a fire ant, cleaning and sterilizing the affected area is important to prevent infection.
Little Black Ants
It’s not uncommon to encounter little black ants at picnics, as they have a reputation for invading outdoor gatherings. These ants are well-known for their distinctive march in single file lines, creating “roadways” as they move.
Little black ants are one of the more prevalent ant species in the state. They typically have a dark brown, black, or jet-black coloration. Unlike many other ants, these pests have a shiny appearance. They measure between 1/16″ to 1/8″ in length.
Wooded areas are common habitats for little black ants. Outdoors, they establish their nests beneath rocks, decaying logs, or piles of bricks or lumber. These ants may also create nests indoors, particularly in wall voids, woodwork, masonry, behind facades, and decaying wood.
Encountering ants in your home or yard can be a common problem for homeowners in Southern Indiana. With the wide variety of ant species in the area, it’s important to understand the specific challenges each species can pose and take appropriate measures to address them.
From destructive carpenter ants to sneaky thief ants, these tiny creatures can disrupt your peace and cause inconvenience. If you are facing an ant issue that seems beyond your control, it’s time to call in the experts. T&G Pest Control is here to help you tackle your ant problems.