White graphic ant

Oklahoma Ant ID Guide

17-20 Minutes to Read

fire ant teamwork in nature or in the garden

Oklahomans know all too well how much of a problem ants can become if left untreated. The unique climate our state has makes it possible for these tiny pests to exist in large numbers and various species both outside and inside of homes and businesses. And, although, many species have similar behaviors, controlling them is hardly a one-size-fits-all approach and different prevention or control methods may be necessary. Fortunately, the experts at Emtec Pest Control are here to help.

While many homeowners will see an increase in the number of ants that are remaining busy around their home during the spring and summer months, these small pests can remain active year-round. Many ant species may head indoors throughout the winter in search of food or shelter from the changing weather patterns. And, although some of these Oklahoma ants may not make themselves known en masse, they could still be busy constructing nests in your walls while small groups of foragers seek out food and water.

One of the best ways to keep your home ant-free is by ensuring that any entry points they may utilize have been sealed appropriately and precautionary measures have been in place. Unfortunately, Oklahoma ants are often so small that even the tiniest crack can give them entry into a structure. Remaining vigilant in keeping your home less accommodating to ants and other pests is often the best defense against a full-blown infestation. Failure to plan accordingly could lead your kitchen counter to be their nest foraging site!

Knowing which ant species you are dealing with is an important first step in determining what ant control methods will be most effective. The key to successful pest management lies in dedication to preventative care. In Oklahoma, ant control can seem like a never-ending process, but it does not have to be with the help of professionals. If you are finding any of the common species of Oklahoma ants found below in your home or business, our knowledgeable and professional staff is here to help you remove them safely and efficiently.

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. 

House Odorous Ant

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.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ants

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.

Acrobat Ant

Acrobat Ants

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 Fire Ant

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 Ant

Harvester Ants

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 Ant

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.

Ant Prevention

To ensure your home is not the next target for a colony of Oklahoma ants, here are some TIPS that you should keep in mind throughout the spring and summer seasons:

  • 1

    Seal Entry Points

    Because the climate in Oklahoma provides unpredictable periods of rainfall year-round, many home foundations will shift with changing moisture levels. This inevitably creates new cracks and crevices around windows and doors that small pests like ants can use to gain access to the indoors. Look for these cracks regularly as the seasons begin to change to ensure you are finding them before pests can.

  • 2

    Remove Food Sources

    Ants can find the smallest morsel of leftover food on your kitchen counter or floor. And, just one crumb can provide an extensive meal for many ants. Even worse, once this food is found, ants will create a “scent trail” made from semiochemicals to alert other foragers that food has been found. Regularly cleaning, sweeping and vacuuming these areas may also help remove food sources that ants could use.

  • 3

    Clean Up Outdoors

    Before ants can find their way inside of a home or business, they will have to have an established nest outdoors. Ants commonly will live under debris piles because of the shelter and moisture levels they can provide. Regular maintenance to maintain a yard free of debris can help eliminate these potential nesting sites around your home and limit the chances they will be able to migrate indoors.

  • 4

    Limit Water Access

    Easily accessible water will often encourage ants to create new nests. This is an important resource for ants since they are constantly in search of viable food and water sources. Check under sinks and around appliances for leaks that may be providing moisture for ants and limit leaving wet rags accessible by pests that may be nearby.

  • 5

    Monitor for Issues

    Ant control in Oklahoma can seem like a constant struggle; however, achieving success often requires homeowners to remain vigilant and monitor for issues that may signify ants are making their way indoors or are coming too close for comfort outside. With over 12,000 species of ants all over the world, the likelihood of running into an ant infestation is likely. Although, early detection can ensure they do not have the chance to become established.

When to Call a Professional

Emtec staff taking calls in the office

If you are finding ants inside of your home, there could potentially be thousands more hiding inside of your walls. Instead of relying on a DIY approach that only treats for visible Oklahoma ants, consider investing in proper ant control through a professional pest control provider like Emtec Pest Control.

At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about any of these pests or pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information.