In the United States, more than five billion dollars is spent yearly on control, damage, and medical treatment due to the red imported fire ants (RIFA).
These invasive pests originally from South America cause agricultural damage estimated at $750 million annually, primarily on livestock losses and crop damage.
Florida is home to many ant species that get attracted to your home in search of food and water. Once they move to your property and nest, it doesn’t take long before they become a problem.
Most of them are more of irritants and they don’t pose any danger, with only a few being harmful to the home or people that live there.
Florida may be home to beautiful landscapes as well as a very large pesky ant species. From pharaoh to ghost to carpenter, we identify the most common ants.
Ghost ants are about 1/16th inches long with light-colored abdomen and legs and dark head.
They nest outdoors under the firewood, logs, stones, or in potted plants. Indoors they prefer to build colonies behind cabinets, wall voids, and baseboards.
These ants are attracted to our homes by sweet food, especially those high in protein.
White Footed Ants
These ants are 1/8th of an inch long, and they feature light colored feet with a black or nearly black body.
They have a colony that contains about one million or more adult, and they prefer to nest in dead wood cavities of trees. Indoors you’ll find them in wall voids and plants.
White-footed ants come out during the rainy season from June to September. This is a perfect time for them as they get to suck honeydew from plants that frequent flower gardens.
They are also attracted to homes by sweet food and protein. While they prefer to nest above the ground, they still can find their way into damp areas such as baths and kitchens.
Caribbean Crazy Ants
The Caribbean crazy ants are reddish-brown to yellowish brown and are relatively new in the United States, coming a few years ago on cargo ships.
These ants often build large colonies with multiple queens and thousands of workers.
They scavenge on different liquid and solid foods such as honeydew, garbage, fruits, or any household food.
Also, they are predatory and will attack other ant species and insects. They also forage more erratically than ants.
Big Headed Ants
Big Headed ants are almost the same size as the white-footed ants, but the only difference is that they have a larger head.
Their color ranges from dark reddish to light brown, and are only active throughout the year except for the coolest months in the area.
They prefer to nest in protected outdoor areas under patio blocks, firewood, mulch, or under logs.
They can find their way inside your home when attracted by the scent of flavored food sources such as greasy foods, meat, and sweets.
Florida Carpenter Ants
These ants feature orange or red colored thorax, and their body is typically black. The ants like to nest in decayed, moist wood.
They’ll also hollow out fence posts, firewood, and wood in trees, especially if they want to make more space for their queen to lay eggs.
The ants feed on insects, fruit and plant juices, and honeydew.
These ants are small about 2mm long, and they have light yellow bodies with black and red markings on the abdomen.
They can get in your home through poorly sealed entryways, windows, or doors and they get attracted by sugary foods and protein such as baked goods, peanut butter, and honey.
The ants build their nests in places that are located away from food sources such as in pipe chases.
Black Crazy Ants
These ants are a problem all year round in Florida. They are about 1/8th inch long and spend most of their time nesting in debris or rock found in the woods or yard.
If they infect your home, they’re probably looking for something greasy or sweet to eat. You’ll always see them all over the spills on the counter or floor and above a stove.
They might not be dangerous, but it’s difficult to catch them due to their swift movement.
So, to protect your home from these invaders, make sure that you keep your counters clean and free from crumbs.
These ants live outdoors in nests within decaying or dead wood. They can invade your home through foundation gaps and cracks around pipes and wiring.
If the carpenter ants or termite previously invaded your home, you are at risk of the acrobat ants. They eat sugary waste extracted by insects such as aphids and honeydew.
The fire ants are generally 1/4 and 1/8 inch long and can range from black to red. They tend to get attracted to sugary substances and fruity foods, but they can eat greasy foods too.
The ants don’t nest inside as they prefer lawns and other areas outside.
If you accidentally stumble upon their nest, they can quickly mobilize, and in minutes you’ll be covered with painful stings that can be dangerous if you’re allergic.
Unlike most ants, the rover ant has antennae with nine segments rather than twelve or more segments.
They vary in color, but they’ll mostly range from pale yellow to blackish-brown. Outdoors they live in mulch and leaf filters.
They are also prevalent in urban areas with high levels of human traffic. Moisture attracts them so you’ll always find them in over-watered gardens.
They feed on proteins from living and dead insects, scale insects, and honeydew produced by aphids.
Because they can survive in different habitats, colonies can sometimes move indoors to look for shelter or sweet food.
Get To Know Florida’s Common Ants!
If you live in Florida, the big headed ants can be a real menace. With colors ranging from dark reddish to light brown, these ants are there throughout the year except for the coolest months in the region.
The black crazy ants and fire ants are the other Florida’s common ants that are problematic all year round.
The black crazy ant is about 1/8th inch long, and usually gets attracted to your home because they’re probably looking for something sweet or greasy to eat. They might not pose any danger, but their swift movement makes it difficult to catch.
Are you always experiencing ants’ invasion in your home? Get in touch with us to help you manage them before they become a threat.