Ants in the DMV Area: Causes & Prevention
The DMV area is home to a wide variety of ant species. From the tiny pavement ants that scurry along sidewalks to the larger carpenter ants that can cause damage to wooden structures, there is no shortage of ant diversity in this region. Other common species include odorous house ants, Argentine ants, and acrobat ants. Each species has its own unique characteristics and behaviors, making it complicated for the average to know which ant they're dealing with.
Characteristics of Ants in the DMV Area
With so many different species of ants in our area, our ant exterminators have compiled a list of characteristics to look for when deciding what species of ant you're dealing with.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are small insects that are typically dark brown or black in color. They are known for their distinctive smell, which is often described as a rotten coconut or a sweet, pungent odor.
These ants are attracted to food and can often be found in kitchens or areas where food is stored. They are also known for their ability to form large colonies, with thousands of ants living together in a single nest. Odorous house ants are not typically aggressive, but they can become a nuisance when they enter homes in search of food.
Argentine ants are small but mighty. They are known for their relentless determination and ability to work together as a team. These ants have a shiny, dark brown or black body, are about 1/8 of an inch long, and have a distinct scent that they use to communicate and recognize each other.
Argentine ants are highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of environments, from urban areas to natural habitats. They are voracious eaters and will consume almost anything, including other insects, sweets, and even plant material. They are excellent at foraging and can quickly locate and gather food sources, which is why they sometimes end up inside homes!
Acrobat ants are small, with slender bodies and long legs that allow them to move with agility and grace. Their heads are proportionally larger than their bodies, and they have strong jaws that they use to defend themselves and gather food. The most distinctive feature of acrobat ants is their ability to raise their abdomen over their head in a curve, resembling an acrobat performing a trick.
Their coloration can vary, but they are typically brown or black with lighter shades on their legs and antennae. With their acrobatic abilities and striking appearance, acrobat ants are truly a fascinating sight to behold.
How to Tell Ants from Termites?
Ants and termites are both insects that often look similar to the untrained observer, but there are some key ways to tell them apart:
- Look for a narrow, constricted waist in an ant, along with bent antennae and hind wings shorter than front wings.
- Termites have a more rectangular-shaped body with straight, beaded antennae and four wings of equal size and shape which are much longer than the body.
- Winged termite swarmer's wings fall off very easily and can be found nearby where they were seen flying or near exit holes from their colonies.
When trying to identify an insect you suspect is either an ant or termite it's important to take into account where you spotted them. Ants tend to stay in open areas while winged termites fly around randomly in search of mates until they find suitable habitat for a colony and then rarely come back out again - with the exception of when they swarm during late summer or early autumn months.
Why Do I Have Ants in My Home?
This is one of the most common questions we get as exterminators in the FMV area. Ants are tiny creatures with a big impact, and they can't resist the allure of an easy meal inside of your home.
They are drawn to food crumbs and sweet sugary substances, following their instincts like a compass guiding them to their destination. They will go to great lengths to find a way inside, like a detective on a mission.
To keep these pesky intruders at bay, it's important to keep your home clean and free of tempting treats, closing off any access points like a fortress protecting its treasures. Be vigilant and proactive in your ant defense, and you'll be able to enjoy a peaceful, ant-free sanctuary. If they still manage to get inside, they can be hard to get rid of, but Connor's is here to help! Contact our team if you are dealing with ants in the DMV area.