Ants might seem like a trivial insect to many of us, but just so you know: they are among the most hardworking and organized creatures on earth! Though they are tiny and small, they can carry things more than their own weight, build elaborate tunnels, and even farm fungi. In Pennsylvania, there are over 60 ant species, both native and imported. Therefore, it’s worth knowing some of the most common ant species, whereabouts, and how to identify them. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common ant species found in Pennsylvania.
1. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are one of the largest ant species found in Pennsylvania. They are typically black or red in color and can grow up to 1 inch. Carpenter ants prefer wet and damaged wood, making homes, trees, and other structures vulnerable to destruction. One way to identify carpenter ants is by observing piles of wood shavings near colonies. To deal with carpenter ants, eliminate damp and moist situations, seal cracks and crevices, and discard damaged wood immediately.
2. Acorn Ants
Acorn ants are small ant species commonly found in oak forests in Pennsylvania. They got their name from their habit of excavating acorns, mining them for nutrients and sugars, and using them for rearing young ants. Acorn ants are usually dark brown to black, and about a quarter inch long. They do not sting but can easily infest homes, particularly in appeal season. To prevent acorn ants from entering your home, make sure to seal all entry points, especially windows, doors, and cracks on exterior walls.
3. Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants are small, yellowish ants around 1/16 inch long found mostly in residential areas and food establishments. They are a huge bother because they thrive in warm and humid environments and can feed on any sweet or protein-based food. Pharaoh ants are known for being hard to control using pesticides, so it’s recommended to leave it to pest control services. One way to recognize them is identifying their two-lobed petiole.
4. Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are small, dark-colored ants found both outdoors and indoors. They are commonly known as a stink ant due to the strong odor they emit when they are crushed or squished, similar to that of rotten coconut. They feed on almost anything sweet, including honeydew, fruit, and even dead insects. Odorous house ant colonies are easy to spot by looking for nests near electrical outlets and warm spaces in the house. To eradicate them, remove any food debris, cover all openings, seal any cracks around walls and windows.
5. Pavement Ants
Pavement ants are found throughout Pennsylvania and are called so because they live under pavement and sidewalks. They are about 1/8 inch long, usually dark brown to black, and have two spines on their back. Pavement ants are often found foraging for sweets, dead insects, and even seeds. They often invade the house through cracks, crevices, and holes. To keep pavement ants at bay, maintain hygiene in the kitchen and keep food stored in airtight containers.
Ants are an important part of our environment, and we need to respect and understand them. Knowing common ant species in Pennsylvania and their behavioral pattern will help prevent unwelcomed infestation and pest problems. By keeping your environment clean, dry, and free of tems that attract ants, you can co-exist with them without any issues. However, remember that if you have a serious ant infestation problem, calling in a professional exterminator may be the best option.