8 Types of Ants That Can Invade and Damage Your Home


August 11, 2018 - Brian Reynolds

South Florida is home to rats, alligators, and various poisonous snakes. So, it may be difficult to work up a sweat over ants. But they can work for months on your home without you ever knowing. Ants can hollow out wood in baseboards and take over your pantry by the thousands. And, we all know what happens if you disturb a nest of them. If one of the 60 different varieties in South Florida moves into your home, you can be vulnerable. Though they’re hard to see, big-headed ants are taking over South Florida areas. Fire ants can be deadly. Pharaoh ants are annoying as heck. And, there’s more. Here are 8 types of ants and some signs you need help.

ants in a florida home

Ghost Ants

This tiny “tramp ant” is reddish-brown with a white opaque rear section and legs. This adaptive pest can nest indoors or outdoors. They will come in looking for food (yours), so you’ll find them along cupboards and sinks in the kitchen and bath. The best prevention is to make sure food storage is tight and keeping counters clean. If they trail inside, they’ll nest in wall spaces, between cabinets, or in-house plants. And, they are impervious to many insecticides.

Acrobat Ants

These medium-sized ants have a distinctive heart-shaped rear. This part lifts up if disturbed. They are shiny red to dark brown, and they nest in moist wood. Homeowners will find them outside under moist eaves or fence posts. Finding them inside the home is a sign there is moisture in wood or insulation. When a homeowner detects them, there’s been a problem for a while.

Carpenter Ants

These are the most recognizable Florida pests due to their large size. They swarm in spring and summer, making them easy to spot. Their similar wing appearance to termites often frightens homeowners. Since they are impossible to treat without finding the nest, their persistence is scary, too. We find them crawling along windows, fencing, and other wood casings. They are often seen on “bridges” including wires or branches close to structures and homes. They will nest in moist wood and wall gaps. Though many believe they eat wood, they do not. But, due to their size, they can take over large areas of moist lumber or insulation.

Big-Headed Ants

These pests have been in South Florida for many years. Today, they are becoming one of the top 100 invasive pests. Researchers point to the recent hurricanes as part of the reason. These ants’ nest in soil, and as damage repairs took place, infestation in sod and trees spread the population. Their enormous heads give them power in digging through soil and roots to build their nests. They will also borough between pavers and sidewalks. This leaves piles of sand or dirt visible. These medium-sized ants can displace other soil nesting insects in yards and flowerbeds. Even fire ants can’t stand up to them.

Fire Ants

The nests of this hard-biting ant (they have teeth) is underground and invisible. Nests can be under decking or large shaded areas. If they are out in the open in yards or fields, there will be a mound of sand and dirt for extra cover. The sting is not only painful but can be deadly to small animals and some humans. After heavy rains, the nest will move to higher ground, including patios and homes. Without mitigation, many nests underground can cause concrete and wood decks to fail.

Pharaoh Ants

These ants are notorious house pests and are very difficult to rid once established. They flourish in Florida’s humid weather and will nest anywhere. They travel in wall spaces, baseboards, and even electrical sockets. They will set up near food and water and are expert at finding it. Leaving oily, sweet, or fatty foods out for a few minutes will bring them to feast. Buildings and homes and even hospitals can suffer infestation. The huge colonies are difficult if not impossible to kill. There are some cases where homes go on the market because of pharaoh ant ravages.

Caribbean Crazy Ants

As you can tell by the name, there are some peculiar behaviors with this medium sized pest. Their colonies can encompass an entire neighborhood, then disappear. This oddity makes treating them difficult. Their nest can cross property lines, requiring several owners to take part. They often nest near fragrant magnolia or cypress trees. These large colonies can cause electrical damage as they spread underneath homes. Sweet fruit is one of their preferences, and their ability to cause crop damage is well-known.

White Footed Ants

This nuisance insect is brownish black with yellowish white feet. Homeowners see their trails along nectar-producing plants. And, many find their way indoors. Colonies can contain millions of ants. Trails often enter through electrical wiring into kitchens and bathrooms. Extreme infestations can occur in attics where homeowners don’t often look. Though they are not known to cause damage, ridding them can take time. There’s no way to know the size of the colony, so extermination takes long-term effort. Services such as baiting rather than sprays are most effective.

Types of Ants That Need a Pro

As with many home issues, we don’t know until it’s too late. We may not see water damage until something gives. Ants see everything. Whether its big-headed ants destroying your yard or pharaohs contaminating your food. They crawl through the smallest opening and find their food and water. Then, they’ll camp out. Once you notice them, there’s little chance you’ll know the types of ants living with you. Much less how to get rid of them. Any kind of infestation whether it’s inside or out needs a professional. We guarantee our work and your satisfaction. Check our services here.

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