Pavement Ants (Sugar Ants)
The pavement ant is representative of a broad group of ground nesting ants that are found throughout the northern and eastern parts of the United States. Pavement ants live in colonies with a social structure. Homes and buildings with slab-on ground type construction are particularly prone in invasion by pavement ants.
Pavement ants vary in color from red brown to blackish-brown in appearance and are from 1/8. to 1/4. in length. They have four stages of their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Six to eight weeks are required for development. The time varies because of the season of the year, the temperature, and the species. Colonies have three distinct castes: queens, kings, and workers. The only function of the queen and male drone is to reproduce. All of the workers are sterile females. The workers build the nest, take care of the young, and hunt for and gather food. The workers are the ones that you find invading a home looking for resources.
They will eat almost any kind of food. Sweets, starches, greases, meats, fruits, and vegetables are all acceptable as food. Pavement ants need moisture and will travel some distance to find a source.
Pavement ants usually nest outdoors in the ground under sidewalks, driveways, in the cracks of pavement, in lawns, and near the foundation of buildings. They will nest Under slabs, in walls, under floors, and in insulation. They enter a home or building through any natural opening or even the smallest crack in the slab or the foundation wall, and often become active in the winter when slab floors heat and bring them out of dormancy.
Argentine ant workers are 1/16-inch long and light to dark brown; the queens are 1/8- to 1/4-inch long, brown, and covered with fine hair. Males are slightly smaller and shiny brown-black. Colonies consist of several hundred to several thousand workers and several queens. They are located in moist areas near a food source. Argentine Ants are very aggressive and eliminate other ant species in the area they colonize. They attack, destroy, and eat other household pests, such as cockroaches. They prefer sweets, often tending scale insects on plants, and use them as a source of honey dew.
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in the United States, ranging from ½-inch long, the queens are slightly bigger. The workers vary in sizes. They are commonly black however some species are red and black, solid red, or brown in color. Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in wood. They excavate galleries as they do not ingest the wood as Termite do. They tunnel in rotting or sound trees and in structures readily infest wood, foam insulation, and cavities. Carpenter ants enter structures through gaps or cracks while foraging for food and can be very damaging to a home if left unchecked.
West Harvester Ant
The Western harvester ant is found in the west at high elevations. This is a red colored ant that can be 6.5 to 10 mm long. Galleries have been found to go over 600 cm deep. Aside from the ants themselves, the large mounds, almost 53 inches across in some cases, and denuded vegetation near to the nest are the most visible signs of harvester ant activity.The three common species of harvester ants—the red, western and California harvester ants—each have unique behaviors, castes and tasks, feeding, nesting patterns and defense mechanisms. The harvester ant behavior differs between each species, seen through their feeding and nesting habits. In addition, unlike many other ants that infest indoor structures, all species of harvester ants prefer not to invade houses and buildings, but will establish their nests around gardens or yards, often destroying vegetation.
Harvester ants are poisonous. In general, the harvester ants are aggressive biters that inject potent and painful venom with their stingers and can cause allergic reactions, especially to those sensitive to their venom Like most stinging insects, their level of aggression and venom potency differs between species within the genus.