Ant Identification Guide
While populations can reach up to 30,000 individual ants in a single colony, the typical population will reach between 3,000 and 5,000.
Emtec Pest Control has been providing ant control services to Oklahoma for over 40 years. In that time, we have worked hard to educate the public about not on the various species that exist in the area but also the problems that these little critters can cause. To help educate the public further, we have compiled this Oklahoma Ant Identification Guide to help take the guesswork out of determining which species you are struggling to control. If you need help getting rid of them, the experts at Emtec Pest Control are always happy to help.
Odorous House Ants
Perhaps one of the most common ant species found indoors across Oklahoma, odorous house ants are tiny brown ants that seek out sweets. Although they don’t pose a public health risk, this species can still contaminate food, making them a common nuisance pest for homeowners. Odorous house ants derive their name from the rotten fruit smell they release when crushed because their diet consists of honeydew, or other sugar sources, that they can find.
Outdoors, odorous house ants will typically be found near sidewalks and driveways, in exposed soil or under stacks of debris. When they make their way indoors, Odorous house ants will typically stay near water sources to build their nests making them a common pest around water pipes or beneath leaky fixtures. Because nests may be inside of walls when indoors, ant control treatments provided by a professional are recommended for the best results.
Although they vary in size and color, carpenter ants are generally a combination of black and red or have a primary color of black, red or brown that covers their entire body. Once a carpenter ant colony reaches maturity, it may contain up to 20,000 individual workers and over 50,000 individual ants within the population. Once the colony reaches two years of age, swarmers will begin to develop to spread the colony to new locations.
Aptly named, the carpenter ant excavates wood to form smooth tunnels that are used for a nest. While there is a common misconception that they eat wood like termites, they only chew through wood to create their nests. As a destructive pest, professional removal of carpenter ants is warranted to limit the reach and spread they can achieve. Early detection and removal are key for the best results possible.
Light brown to black, acrobat ants are a relatively small species of ant. One characteristic that makes acrobat ants more easily identifiable is the shape of their abdomen when viewed from the top because it resembles a heart. Unlike some species of ants, acrobat ants possess a stinger although they rarely will use it and the pain it causes rarely lasts long. For this reason, stings also rarely require medical attention unless an allergy is present.
Like other ants, outdoor acrobat ant nests are most likely to be found near stumps, under mulch or other debris piles. Acrobat ants also target home siding for potential nest locations However, this species will typically forage for food as far as 100 feet away from their nest. When indoors, acrobat ants will typically nest inside insulation, behind walls or in locations with water damage or high moisture levels.
Red Imported Fire Ants
Although dark reddish-brown, red imported fire ants derive their name from the painful bites and stings that they can deliver. As an invasive species, these ants are found throughout the state of Oklahoma and should be avoided whenever possible. This is mostly because they will swarm when their nest is disturbed, and their stings can result in painful welts. If found on your property, these ants should be left alone and removed by a professional.
Red imported ants will often build large mounds outdoors in the soil near foundations, landscaping or in yards. While most often found outdoors, red imported fire ants may get inside of homes or businesses through Ac units, HVAC systems of cracks and crevices that lead indoors. When these ants are found indoors, removal is warranted because of the health hazard they present.
Harvester ants encompass over 22 different species found within the United States. Most harvester ants average between ¼ and ½ inch in length and have a color pattern that ranges from brown to red or are completely black. Many species also tend to have long hairs attached to the underside of their head that will give them the appearance of having a beard. As a species that can deliver a painful sting, harvester ants have been known to kill animals that have disturbed their nests.
Outdoors, the presence of a harvester ant nest is most often noted by a bare patch of soil surrounding a very large mound. When the nest is being created, ants will strip the vegetation around it to limit the amount of shade that it ultimately receives. During the hottest times of the day, harvester ants will generally remain inside of the nest but will leave to collect seeds or feed on insects whenever the climate allows. Since harvester ants can deliver a painful bite if their nest is disturbed, professional assistance is recommended for removal.
Little Black Ants
As their name implies, little black ants are incredibly tiny ants that are notorious for finding their way indoors. As one of the smallest ant species in Oklahoma, little black ants average around 1/16 inches in length. However, contrary to their given name, some little black ants can take on a dark brown color. One of the easiest ways to identify these ants is by the shiny sheen they have in light and the foraging trails that traverse from the nest to food sources.
As a hardy species of ant, little black ants will generally be found outside in dark, protected areas that offer shelter from the sun and elements. This will typically include the space under rocks, decaying trees or cement cracks, although they can thrive in gardens as well. Once they establish a colony indoors, they will generally build nests in wall voids, under carpeting or in baseboards. Since these areas are difficult to control with DIY approaches, professional ant control is usually suggested.
Not sure what type of ant you have?
Give us a call! One of our certified technicians can identify your ants and provide a free estimate.