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What To Know About Common Ants


Ants are ubiquitous little creatures. Chances are you’ve had them crawling around your kitchen sink or pantry once or twice before. Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as “sugar” ants. Just like me and you, most all ants will readily consume carbohydrates in the form of sugars. 

Let’s take a brief look at 3 common species of ants that you’ll probably encounter in your South Carolina home or lawn.

Odorous House Ants:

These small 1/8 inch brown to black ants have a very apropos name. Odorous House Ants smell like coconut when crushed (some say rotten coconuts, but to the author, they smell like regular old coconut). 

Additionally, they tend to nest inside structures and/or in close proximity to them. They don’t build nests in mounds of soil but will use logs, rocks, pavers, lawn storage equipment, wall voids, etc. to take up residence. 

They are omnivorous but are inclined to prefer sweets. And, they like areas of high moisture, as they are often found in bathrooms and near kitchen sinks. These ants are native to the United States and outside of urban or suburban environments have relatively small colony sizes and only single queen colonies.

However, unfortunately for your brand new house in your brand new subdivision, these ants tend to have much bigger colonies in urban and suburban areas numbering in the tens of thousands with multiple queens. This is most likely caused by the lack of biodiversity allowing more resources and nesting sites for these troublesome little ants.

Argentine Ants:

If you guessed argentine ants were not native to the United States, you’re on the right track. If you guessed they are from Argentina you would win the gold star. 

These ants were introduced in the late 1800s in New Orleans. They look very similar to the aforementioned odorous house ant however when crushed they don’t smell much like coconut. 

Also, they have a visible node (think little notch or bump) between the thorax and abdomen as opposed to the odorous house ant’s node which sits hidden underneath the abdomen.

This pesky little ant works well with other colonies of Argentine ants, instead of just ignoring one another, they work together to form colonies in the millions.

In urban and suburban environments, these ants thrive due to favorable microhabitats full of water and shelter. They are omnivorous but are apt to like carbohydrates and will tend or “farm” plant-sucking pests like aphids that secrete a carbohydrate-rich liquid called honeydew.

Fire Ants:

Another imported invasive species, that you’re probably unfortunately all too familiar with, is the dreaded fire ants

These pests arrived in the 1930s to the south and have spread like wildfire (pun intended) to the whole southeast, parts of California, and now are creeping into Virginia. 

They build unsightly nests with colony sizes ranging upwards of half a million ants. Not only do they overtake large areas in yards, pastures, playgrounds, and athletic fields with large mounds, but are very aggressive and will sting you multiple times if you happen to disturb their nest. Their stings can be painful and cause pustules to form roughly a day after being stung. 

Furthermore, a small percentage of people are allergic to their venom and go into anaphylactic shock from their stings. They can even venture inside structures coming up through cracks in slab buildings or trailing inside in search of food and water.

What Should I Do to Get Rid of Ants?

These pest ants are good at surviving and invading your home or property. What can you do to keep ants away or fix the ant infestation problem

Call the experts at Spencer Pest Services! We have the training and determination needed to solve your ant problem today.