Ant infestation is the most commonly reported pest problem. These tiny scavengers will enter your home or business looking for moisture and an accessible food source. Rotting or damp wood that is moldy can attract ants. Ants also feed on sugar, cheese, meats, vegetables, grease, peanut butter, and dead insects.

Ants often enter a home through cracks around windows or doors, but they can find numerous entrances to your home or building. Once inside, the growing ant colony can become a problem quickly, as ants mature from juveniles to adults within a matter of days.

It is necessary to properly identify the ant species that you have in order to effectively eradicate them. Of the thousands of species of ants, the four listed below are the most commonly found in the United States. 

Carpenter Ants:


  • Color: Varies depending on species, from red to black or a combination. The two most common species are black. 
  • Legs: 6
  • Shape: Segmented, oval 
  • Size: 5/8” 
  • Region: Found throughout US; most common in Northern half of the country 

General Information: Carpenter Ants get their name because they build their nests in wood and can damage to the wood in your house. Each colony is established by a single, fertilized queen. She starts her nest in a cavity in wood, where she raises her first brood of workers. She feeds them saliva and does not leave the nest or feed herself during this time. When they are ready, those workers then get the job of gathering food to feed the next generation. Once mature, this first generation of worker ants work to increase the food supply for the colony. A colony can eventually produce 2,000 or more workers. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they remove during nest-building activities, but deposit it outside entrances to the colony in small piles. The diet of carpenter ants includes living and dead insects, meat fats and sugary foods of all kinds, including honeydew and nectar from plants. 
Habitat: Carpenter ants build nests anywhere they can find water and in moldy or damp wood, such as tree stumps, firewood or in the plants around your house. Carpenter ants also build nests inside, usually entering buildings through wet, damaged wood, although it isn’t uncommon for them to adapt to drier environments.
Impact: Carpenter ants don’t carry disease, but when building a nest inside a home, they dig smooth tunnels inside the wood. These tunnels weaken the wood and potentially damage the wood that keeps the house standing. This kind of damage can be very expensive to fix.

Pavement Ants


  • Color: Dark brown to blackish  
  • Legs: 6 
  • Shape: Segmented, oval Size: 1/8” 
  • Region: Found throughout US

General Information: Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement, but they also infest structures. These ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese. Pavement ants readily set up trails to and from food sources. Inside the house they are commonly found foraging under the edge of carpets and at the bottom of baseboards. 
Habitat: Colonies are usually easy to find due to the piles of displaced soil next to and on top of pavement. Indoors, pavement ants nest under the foundation and within hollow block foundation walls. Occasionally, a colony may carry soil up into a wall to form a nest. When piles of soil appear from under baseboards or on top of a basement or garage floor, it is a good sign that pavement ants may be present. 
Impact: These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.

Pharaoh Ants


  • Color: light yellow bodies with red and black markings on the abdomen  
  • Legs: 6 
  • Shape: small in size, approx. 2 mm in length
  • Region: Found throughout US

General Information: Pharaoh ants can take advantage of artificial heating in buildings to survive the winter. Infestations commonly occur in food service areas. They will nest in well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure, but they can also nest outdoors in lawns or gardens in warm climates.
Diet: Pharaoh ants eat food of all types, but especially sweets. They will also eat other insects.
Habitat: Pharaoh ants can build nests in walls, cabinet voids, behind baseboards, refrigerator insulation, the hollows of curtain rods, the folds of clothes, sheets and paper and other undisturbed dark spaces. A colony of pharaoh ants will scatter if a substance disturbs it, creating multiple problems where there had been only one.

Argentine Ants


  • Color: light to dark brown  
  • Legs: 6 
  • Shape: small in size, approx. 2.2 to 2.8 mm in length. Their antennae have 12 segments
  • Region: Found throughout US

General Information: Argentine ants are readily adaptable and can nest in a great variety of places. Colonies are massive and may contain hundreds of queens. Nests are usually located in moist soil, next to or under buildings, along sidewalks or beneath boards. These ants travel in trails.
Diet: Argentine ants are omnivorous, meaning that they can eat almost anything, but they prefer sweet foods.
Habitat: Argentine ants may live in soil, under wood, logs, debris or mulch. They may also nest in cavities at the base of shrubs and trees. Their nests are often shallow, measuring up to 20 cm (~8 in) in depth in open habitats.

Little Black Ants


  • Color: dark brown, black or jet black 
  • Legs: 6 
  • Shape: small in size, approx. 1.5 mm. Queens can measure up to4 mm in length. Their antennae have 12 segments and end in a three-segmented club.
  • Region: Found throughout US

General Information: Although little black ants have a stinger, it is too small to be effective against most threats. Little black ants are omnivorous and will eat insects, sweets, honeydew, vegetables, greasy or oily foods, corn meals and plant secretions. Workers forage in trails and are frequently seen along sidewalks and foundation walls. Indoors, the little black ant can be located in wooden items as well as in walls and the junction between the carpet and walls.
Diet: They at times can forage for food indoors. Little black ant workers forage with scent-marked trails. They feed on aphids and plant secretions, as well as sweets, greasy items, meats, fruits and vegetables.
Habitat: Little black ant colonies can house several thousands of individuals and are located primarily in dark, protected areas. Little black ants prefer to live outdoors in decaying wood, but will also build their nests in cracks in walls or cement. Outside, little black ants establish their nests under rocks or stones and in rotting logs, gardens and other open areas. Their nests can also be located within small craters of very fine soil. Indoors, little black ants build their nests in voids and cavities such as wall voids.

Ant Prevention:

  • Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, mosquitoes and termites are attracted to moisture.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home.
  • Make sure that there are no cracks of little openings around the bottom of your house. Pests can use these cracks to get into your home.
  • Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.
  • Clean up food spills
  • Vacuum thoroughly
  • Use Ant-proof containers
  • Empty trash frequently
  • Clean gutters