Identification: As their name implies, these ants are often red but may appear black, and some fire ant species have a darker red coloring on their abdomen. This dark red abdomen may be hard to notice though because these red and black ants are extremely small. And, when you see fire ants, you’re not likely to be looking at one ant to identify. These ants attack by the dozens and even hundreds.
Size: You might want to get out your magnifying glass; fire ants are under ⅕ of an inch. Queens will be slightly larger.
Habitations: These are ground-dwelling ants that will build volcano-like mounds throughout your entire lawn, but especially in sunny areas. They will establish nests in rotted logs, trees, and stumps as well.
Threat: We probably don’t have to tell you that these ants bite and that these bites are quite irritating. What you may not know is that some people can have an allergic reaction to these bites that can cause them to go into anaphylactic shock. They are also a significant threat to those who can’t get away from them, such as babies, the elderly, and the infirm.
Identification: Most carpenter ants you’ll find in your home are entirely black in color. But, there are some species in the state that can be reddish, yellowish or a combination of all three colors. Other than color, all carpenter ants have the same characteristics: two antennae, six legs, three body parts, and a single node between their thorax and abdomen.
Size: These are the largest ants you’re going to find crawling around your home. Carpenter ant workers are between ⅝ of an inch and ½ inch. Queens can be as large as 1 inch.
Habitations: You’re not going to find these ants in the soil or making mounds in your backyard. They make their home in wood, especially decaying wood. If you have carpenter ants on your property they will target any area where wood or wood products are stacked. They also prefer areas that are moist or damp.
Threat: Since these ants chew on wood and create their home inside the wood, they can be a threat to the structures on your property. But, they are less of a threat to your pantry, and less likely to spread illness in your home.
Identification: Since these ants are black or reddish black, they are often confused for carpenter ants, though they shouldn’t be. Pavement ants are considerably smaller than carpenter ants and, if you’re able to get a close look, you’ll see that these ants have two nodes between their thorax and their abdomen.
Size: If you set a pavement ant next to a fire ant, you’ll see that this ant looks like a runt. At only ⅛ to 1/16 of an inch, pavement ants are the tiniest ant you’ll see on your property.
Habitations: As you may have guessed from their name, pavement ants like living in the soil between the cracks in the pavement, but this isn’t their only habitation. They will make ground nests under and near many types of hard material. In nature, they can be found living under rocks. If these ants have established themselves near your exterior walls, they can make themselves a significant indoor pest.
Threat: These are mostly a nuisance pest. While it is possible for pavement ants to carry harmful bacteria from trash cans to food prep surfaces, silverware drawers, and dish cabinets, it is not as common as the ants themselves.