Ants are quite the nuisance for the homeowner. While most are relatively harmless, some can cause property damage, some can produce a painful bite, and none of us like to see them crawling around our home. You’ve tried to eliminate them using multiple methods, but they keep turning up. Why do they keep coming back?

Common Ant Types

To learn how to deal with ants invading your home, it is important to know what kind of ants you are dealing with. In Oregon, there are eight common ants that are found in homes. Identifying them helps eliminate them and helps keep them from coming back.

Odorous House Ants, also called sugar ants – Sugar ants are the kind of ants usually found in Oregon homes, but these are also the most common anywhere you go. These tiny critters are drawn to sugar and sugary liquids. When they are crushed, they give off a rotten coconut smell. Since they are drawn to sugar, the best way to keep them away is to be sure to clean off counters, tables and other surfaces that may have leftover sugary residue after you eat snacks or meals. These are a single node ant species. A node is a bump found on the petioles of an ant’s body, the connecting portion of tissue between the thorax and abdomen.

Pavement Ants – These are tiny ants that are dark brown to red. They build nests under or around concrete and come into your home because they are also attracted to sweets like their cousins. As the name implies, you will usually find them on pavement.

Argentine Ants – These ants are about the same size as their predecessor, light to dark brown in color. They have 12-segmented antennae and when crushed they have a musty odor. They love damp environments, especially if they have an established and reliable food source.

Crazy ants – So named because they run rather crazily with jerky motions and not necessarily in a straight line, these two node ants have a dark brown to gray sheen they are 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch long on average.

Thief ants – These ants are sometimes called grease ants; they can survive just about anywhere. They are known to build nests near other species so they can invade their colonies and steal food. These are among the smallest ant species, and they have a pale yellow or light to dark brown body, no spines.

Pharoah ants – The thief is often confused with these because they both can have the yellowish color, but pharaoh ants have spines and they nest in odd places like between sheets of stationary, layers of bed linens and clothes. They have even been known to build nests in trash piles. They like sugary and fatty food sources.

Field ants, thatching ants or harvester ants – These ants are red in color and they have a painful bite like fire ants, but fire ants prefer warmer climates while field ants have a distinct behavior of harvesting and gathering seeds for their food source.

Carpenter ants – These ants a large 1/4th to 1/2 an inch in size, dark brown or black bodies with heart shaped heads and large mandibles. They build nests in wood, so they pose a threat to the structural integrity of your home.

Ant Control

Ants come back because they seek out viable food sources like leftover food, crumbs, spilled sugar or sugary drinks, flour, grains and more. They can even use pet food as a reliable source of nourishment. Ants also need water to survive so check your pipes and water access points for ant populations and remember to keep surfaces clean of food and moisture whenever possible. Also, store food items in your pantry in airtight containers so as not to attract ants. They return because people provide them with food and water sources.

If you suspect you have an ant problem and you have tried all you can to get rid of them, call All-Natural Pest Elimination at 877-662-8449 for an evaluation and estimate of what it would take to have your home ant free.