What are ants?

Ants are regular visitors inside our Utah homes, but why? The biggest reason is that they are searching for food to gather and bring back to their nests. No matter how diligently we clean, the crumbs that are in all our homes are what ants are looking for. If you see ants moving around your home, the most likely culprits are carpenter ants, sugar ants, pavement ants, or Argentine ants. Carpenter ants are the biggest cause for concern. If these large ants decide to nest within our home’s structural wood, over time, they can cause significant structural damage.

Ants in the Ogden area include sugar ants, carpenter ants, pavement ants, and Argentine ants.

Sugar ants

Sugar ants are minuscule brown ants typically about 1/4 inch in size. They are named for their preference for sugar-based foods. These ants are a common household invader for homeowners that fail to clean up after meals or seal the garbage cans.

Ants on Sugar
row of worker ants going back and forth to the anthill

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are small black ants typically about 1/10 of an inch in length. As their name suggests, they are most commonly found on sidewalks and other paved areas around homes and businesses. However, should they get inside, the ants getting into your food are now bringing in germs from the streets and garbage.

Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are small brown ants roughly ⅛  inch in size but distinguished by their behavior. They are an aggressive species that is very invasive to urban and agricultural areas. These ants love to get into potted plants or the cracks and crevices within your home, and from there make their way indoors.

Ants collecting honeydew from greenflies aphids on a plant stem

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are commonly black in color but may also be red, yellowish, or a combination of colors. They are large ants. Adult workers may grow up to ½ of an inch in length and queens can reach up to one inch in length. Carpenter ants have oval-shaped, segmented bodies, six legs, and elbowed antennae. Carpenter ant workers have large, strong mandibles that help them to excavate wood. These mandibles are also strong enough to cause a painful pinch.

In the ant world, carpenter ants are in a category of their own. Technically they’re ants, but the way they damage your home is more similar to termites, albeit not for the same purpose. Carpenter ants use their extremely strong mandibles to hollow out channels in wood to build their nesting areas while termites feed directly on the wood. However, the result is practically the same⁠—tunnels running through and destroying the wood within your home.

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