North Carolina is a beautiful state with great offerings for adventurers and city-dwellers alike.
Known for its diverse landscapes, both high mountains and lazy riverbanks, North Carolina’s humid climates make it also a great habitat for all sorts of bugs and insects.
Among these insects are ants, an incredibly diverse species.
The most common types of ants in North Carolina may include but are not limited to carpenter ants, fire ants, argentine ants, acrobat ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants.
Different Types of Ants in NC: Characteristics and Identification
Ant species may differ in size, color, nesting habits, and behavior. North Carolina’s beautiful and diverse landscapes pave the way for a variety of ant species – and here are some tips on how to identify them.
Carpenter Ants are like tiny woodworkers, busily crafting intricately detailed homes out of carefully selected pieces of wood.
Unlike termites, who only consume dead wood, Carpenter Ants will nibble away at living trees and wooden objects to create their nests.
Often times these ants will move from tree to tree or from structure to structure if the area can provide them with the necessities of life. This includes food and a safe place for their colony to call home.
Carpenter ants typically range in color from black to light yellowish-brown and can be identified by their large size (1/4 to 1/2 inch long) and sawdust-like material at their nests.
These ants burrow their way deep into the wood, using their powerful mandibles to cut through deadwood. These critters build extensive tunneling systems for transportation and protection as they forage for food.
Fire ants are a special breed of ant that is known for both its hardworking nature and for the painful sting it inflicts upon those unfortunate enough to encounter them.
Fire ants have small red bodies, which is how they got their name, and are more aggressive than other ant species.
They usually live in large colonies with multiple queens and very specific living requirements, such as the right amounts of temperature and humidity. Fire ants favor warm climates and generally stay away from cold weather.
They’re normally found in lawns, gardens, and other places with soil. Fire ants can be identified by their reddish-brown color and aggressive behavior when disturbed or threatened.
Argentine ants are one of the most common ant species in North Carolina and have a few identifying features that set them apart from other ants.
Argentine ants have a uniform body shape and size, meaning that all colony members are roughly the same size.
With a size of about an eighth of an inch long, people living in urban areas may be familiar with Argentine ants since they are often seen traversing homes and businesses.
They’re considered to be one of the most irritating pests at home. They ransack kitchen cabinets and pantries in search of food and have been known to invade and contaminate food sources. Argentine ants can be identified by their yellowish-brown color and uniform size.
Acrobat ants are an extraordinary species found during the summer months near a water source such as a river or lake.
These formidable creatures display incredible acrobatic attempts as they quickly traverse through debris and foliage.
From their name, it can be assumed that they have an unorthodox ability to arch their abdomens over their heads and display an upside-down V shape. This ability and behavior set them apart from other types of ants.
Acrobat ants can be identified by their small size (1/4th inch long) and black color with a yellowish-brown abdomen. In North Carolina, acrobat ants are considered to be one of the most common ants you’ll see along the coast.
From the name itself, pavement ants are typically found in North Carolina’s pavements, sidewalks, and driveways. These hardworking creatures are often mistaken for fire ants due to their reddish-brown color, but they lack the aggressive behavior that fire ants possess.
Pavement ants can be distinguished by their small size (1/8 inch long) and unique two-node body shape.
They’re experts at building nests in cracks and crevices of pavement and can be found in large groups searching for food. They are especially attracted to sweet substances and will invade homes or buildings if given the opportunity.
Odorous House Ants
Have you ever had the experience of smelling something rotten and musty in your home only to find out that it’s coming from an ant?
If so, you’ve most likely encountered odorous house ants. When crushed, these ants are identified by their distinct odor, and the smell is often described as a rotten coconut.
Although they’re less damaging than other types of ants found in North Carolina, their presence still needs to be taken seriously since they can contaminate food sources.
Odorous house ants are usually in brown or black colors and measure up to 1/8th of an inch in size.
Getting Rid of Ants in Your North Carolina Home
Living in North Carolina means putting up with the occasional ant invasion. Whether it’s a few pesky critters or an entire colony, getting rid of ants can be arduous and time-consuming. If you’re looking for effective ways to get rid of ants, here are some steps you can take:
Identifying the Type of Ant You’re Dealing With
The first step to getting rid of ants from your North Carolina home is identifying which type of ant you’re dealing with.
Common types include carpenter ants, odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, and pavement ants. To identify the type of ant in your home, use a magnifying glass to look at the body shape and coloration.
Based on the characteristics listed above, you can identify which type of ant you’re dealing with.
Setting Up Ant Bait
Once you’ve identified the type of ant, the next step is to set up ant bait. Depending on the type of ant, different types of bait may be necessary.
For example, carpenter ants are attracted to sweet foods, while pharaoh ants prefer protein-based bait. Setting up ant bait is an effective way to eliminate large colonies of ants in your home.
Clean Up Food and Water Sources
Ants are attracted to food and water sources, so one of the best ways to prevent them from entering your home is by cleaning up areas that may have food and water residue.
Make sure to wipe down surfaces and vacuum any crumbs lying around. Additionally, make sure all food is stored in air-tight containers.
Seal Up Cracks and Crevices
Ants are experts at finding ways into your home, so make sure to seal up any cracks or crevices that they may use as an entry point.
Look around the thresholds of your door and windows, as well as in the corners of your home, for any openings that may need to be sealed up.
Call a Professional Exterminator
If all else fails, then it’s time to call a professional exterminator. A licensed exterminator will be able to identify the type of ant and recommend the best course of action to get rid of them.
They may also be able to offer tips on how to prevent ants from entering your home in the future.
Ants can be a nuisance when they come marching into your North Carolina home uninvited! It’s important to identify the type of ant you’re dealing with and then take the appropriate steps to eliminate them.
Setting up the bait, cleaning up food sources, and sealing up cracks and crevices are all effective strategies for deterring ants from entering your property.
If the issue persists, contact a professional exterminator who can help get rid of the ants for good.
Additionally, it’s important to implement preventive measures to ensure the ants don’t come back. This means doing routine inspections around your home and addressing any potential entry points into your property.
Taking the time to do this will help protect your home from pesky ant invasions in the future.