The Ants Come Marching
Ants may seem like such tiny little inconsequential pests, but when they come in droves — as they usually do — they can present a much bigger headache for homeowners. And many of them, the kinds that sting and bite, are a literal pain, especially for children and pets. Here, we provide a little education about the types of ants you’ll find in Phoenix and what you should do about them if they become a problem.
There are five major classifications of ants in the Sonoran Desert and Phoenix area.
- Black ants are the most common ants found in homes and on patios. They can range from 1/16” to bigger than ½”, and most of their lives are spent caring for the colony: gathering food and, for the queen, laying eggs.
- Pharaoh ants are very small, but their colonies can number up to 30,000. They are a huge annoyance since their diet includes human foods along with vegetation.
- Fire ants come in two varieties: the southern fire ant and the imported red fire ant. They range from 1/16” to ¼” and are identifiable by their red heads and darker bodies. Fire ants have a stinger at the tail end of their bodies. They sting or bite and can be quite painful.
- Carpenter ant is a label often used interchangeably with termite, but they’re actually not the same. They eat and nest in wood, so they can cause a lot of structural damage (hence why they’re sometimes confused with termites). Carpenter ants bite and inject formic acid into the wound, causing a lot of pain.
- Harvester ants are another stinging type of ant. They grow as large as ½” and eat vegetation. They have been known to pose a huge threat to crops in agricultural areas.
Probably one of the biggest challenges ants pose in Phoenix is the size of their colonies. Although small individually, their colony numbers are large, and they eat things that are found in or around Phoenix homes: wood, vegetation, and even human food. They tend to nest near food and water sources, so in the dry desert, a landscaped lawn makes an excellent home for these little pests. And since three of the five Phoenix ant varieties sting or bite, there’s the added problem of pain in addition to the annoyance of having these little black or red insects on your property.
Getting Rid of Ants
It can be a real challenge to rid a property of ants once the colony has moved in. Their whole goal is to stay alive and reproduce. During mating season, some ants will gain wings and spread to start new colonies. Of course, they don’t go far, exacerbating the issue for you, the homeowner. If you find just one or two ants in your home or yard, the likelihood is that you have a lot more hiding in the shadows.
We know how to manage your pest problem and get rid of ants, no matter which kind has started to call your yard and property home.