They say everything is bigger in Texas, but the ants aren't. The ants found in Texas are still quite tiny. But those little ants can cause some major problems when they find their way into residential structures, especially here in Texas where the environmental conditions are perfect for them to grow their populations and thrive. So, while our ants aren't bigger, the problems they can cause might be. Let's take a look at four of the most common nuisance ants found in our area and how these ants typically find their way into our homes.
At only about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long, these tiny, reddish-brown ants can cause some big problems when they get into farm equipment, vehicle engines, and other electronic equipment. Crazy ants feed primarily on dead insects, fruits, seeds, and the honeydew produced by aphids. Due to their food source, these ants are often attracted to gardens and ornamental landscaping. If you have vegetation near your home, this can lure crazy ants close enough to your home for them to exploit entry points in your foundation. They can also find their way inside if they get into an electrical box that has openings that lead into your wall voids.
Odorous House Ants
These black or dark brown colored ants are 1/4 of an inch in length. While not as tiny as many other ant species, these ants are still pretty small. Odorous house ants feed primarily on sweets and meats, but prefer sweets; they will gravitate to sugar, honey, butter, ice cream, and other sweet foods first, but don't be surprised if you find them dining on a hamburger. These ants will eat just about anything we eat, even if it’s rotting. The most likely entry point for these ants is around water pipes and leaky fixtures, especially pipes that are warm as odorous house ants are drawn to warm, moist locations. This attraction to moisture will lead them to take advantage of damage done by termites and carpenter ants as termites and carpenter ants are also drawn to these damp, moist locations.
These light-brown, brown, or black ants range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch, depending on the specific species. Like the other ants on this page, pavement ants are omnivores. The food they prefer are insects, seeds, fruits, grease, ice cream, cheese, and honeydew. As their name suggests, these ants prefer living in the cracks in pavement. They will also create their ant hills under stones and near the foundation of homes. If these ants come near your foundation wall, they will explore every inch, especially around window and door frames for a way to get inside. It is important to fix chipped or broken mortar if you want to keep these ants out.
At only 1/16 of an inch long, these are the smallest ants we're going to look at in this blog. Their bodies typically range in color from light yellow to a more reddish color with dark brown or black markings on their abdomens. Pharaoh ants prefer to live in warm, humid locations near food and water resources. These ants have a preference for sweet, greasy, and fatty foods, so don't be surprised to find these ants in your pantry feeding on jelly, honey, sugar, sweet bread, and donuts. They'll also eat insects, sponges, and even shoe polish. These ants usually enter homes from shaded areas near the home, especially in shady locations with large amounts of wood or organic debris.
How To Keep Ants Out
While these ants have slightly different food and habitat preferences, they all have one similarity: they will all take advantage of any available entry points to get into your home. It is important to perform a detailed inspection of your home from your foundation to your roof, sealing any holes, gaps, or cracks you find.
Like we mentioned above, most ants prefer to invade damp, shaded areas. Anything you can do to reduce moisture and shade will work to reduce these ants. To help deter these pests, eliminate standing water near your foundation and trim foliage to allow the sun to dry the soil around your home after it rains.
Ants are attracted to locations with organic debris such as leaves, sticks, and mulch. Create a two-foot zone with no organic debris around the perimeter of your foundation to allow you to see ant activity and reduce the number of ants exploring your foundation walls.
The most effective way to keep tiny ants from becoming a big problem is to have routine perimeter treatments performed by a licensed and experienced professional. This will reduce the ant populations around your home, no matter what conditions are present.
If you live in Tyler or elsewhere in East Texas, reach out to us at Innovative Pest Control to learn more about our residential pest control solutions.