Ants in the Dallas – Fort Worth Area
There are many species of ants across the state of Texas and even more (over 700) in the United States. They are abundant and persistent and to the untrained eye, they all look the same. It is very common to “label” an ant as a “sugar ant” or a “sweet ant” because they were observed eating some type of sugary food. Since most ants will vary their diet from carbohydrate to protein to fat, it is not uncommon to find any one species in just about any type of food depending on local weather conditions, food supplies, temperature and other factors.
Some common species include Little Black Ants, Argentine Ants, Odorous House Ants, Pharaoh Ants, Thief Ants, Acrobat Ants, Rover Ants, and Small Honey Ants. They invade homes, apartments, town houses and any structure which has food or available nest sites.
It is important to understand three very important facts when dealing with ants:
- They will invade any structure once a food supply or nest site has been found. Do not believe a living area must be “dirty” for ants to infest it.
- Once they have chosen a structure for nesting or food, simply spraying will not provide control. In fact, many times spraying inside will only cause the problem to get worse! Baiting for some species is required.
- Once we obtain control, it is suggested that you continue outside treatments from time to time to insure they do not reinfest your home.
Here are some of the more common ants along with some of their characteristics and behavioral patterns.
Pharaoh Ants (also called Sugar Ants) are nocturnal and very small. They invade many homes, commercial buildings, hospitals and nursing homes. If you have Pharaoh Ants, you will only see a few scouts or workers at any one time. Most of the ants never leave the nest; nests can be in walls, ceilings or attics.
Another ant which is similar to the Pharaoh yet very different is the Thief Ant. This species looks much like a Pharaoh Ant yet its biology and nest site is unique. Thief Ants are parasites. They are very small and nest inside other ant colonies. They mingle with these host ants undetected and feed on food the host ants supply. It is not unusual to control one colony of ants only to have these annoying Thief Ants become active. This happens because the ant nest you treated has died off and now the Thief Ants are looking for a new host. As it leaves the dead colony you suddenly see a migration of ants parading around. In most cases they will disappear but in some instances they are able to establish themselves close to where they originally were living or in the first nest they came from if it still has a good food supply.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous House Ants and Argentine Ants are easy to confuse with one another. These ants can be active at any time of day and will feed on anything. They can number in the thousands and once they set up scent trails into a structure, it is difficult to keep them out. They have been seen traveling over 100 feet to get inside a house! Either species will readily nest under pine straw, wood chips or any type of slab. Because of the numbers in the colony, these ants are among the hardest to completely control. If a large wooded area is harboring a nest close to your structure and cannot be treated, you will continually have a problem.
General pest control or our popular Bee Smart program can eliminate these persistent pests. Check out our Services page for information on our General Pest Treatment and Bee Smart services.
Find more ant information here at Texas A&M’s Department of Entomology website.