Bugs, Birds, Bees & Weeds

Ant Identification & Prevention

What are ants?

Ants are social insects that live and breed together in large groups. They are a significant pest problem for home and business owners, regularly finding their way into our structures to feed and sometimes nest.

ant chewing on some wood

Two of the more problematic species living throughout the Las Vegas area are the Argentine ant and harvester ant.

Argentine ants are small ants that are shiny dark brown to black. They are a non-native species and known for driving native species of ants out of areas. When crushed, they produce an unpleasant musty odor. But these ants are mainly identified by their large colony size (a single colony can contain millions of ants and multiple queens) and the wide trails they create when traveling together foraging for food. These ants are scavengers but prefer sweets, especially honeydew, produced by aphids and other garden pests.

Harvester ants thrive in hot, dry climates. They are large reddish or brown-colored ants and have hairs on the underside of their heads, providing them with a beard-like appearance. Harvester ants received their name from their unique behavior of collecting or harvesting seeds to feed on.

Are ants dangerous?

Ants are typically not insects that people associated with the word "danger," but the truth is, depending on the species, they can introduce some threats to both people and properties.

Most ant species, like Argentine ants, are nuisance ants and, while they're not ideal to have in your yard or home, aren't a significant threat to you or your family. It is important to note that the large colony size and multiple nesting sites of Argentine ants make these pests very difficult to control and require a professional's expertise to eliminate them.

An example of an ant that is considered dangerous is the harvester ant. These ants often nest in our yards, and though they aren't as aggressive as fire ants, harvester ants are known for delivering painful bites and stings if disturbed. Also, to create their nesting areas, they will remove all the vegetation from around their nests, causing large bare spots in lawns.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants are on your property because it is offering them something they want, usually food. Things like forgetting to put the lid on a trash can, leaving out bowls of pet food, or having grease buildup around your family's grill could attract ants. Harvester ants feed on seeds, so things like bird feeders and gardens attract these ants to a property.

In addition to food, moisture, and suitable nesting spots also attracts ants to a property. Argentine ants are highly attracted to water; things like inadequate ventilation or leaky pipes often draw these pests to indoor and outdoor spaces.

Where will I find ants?

Argentine ants like to nest outside in the damp soil along sidewalks, building foundations, and under logs, landscaping ties, or woodpiles. As these ants travel around, it is common for them to end up inside homes and other structures. Their high moisture needs mean they usually wind up nesting behind walls near leaky pipes, sinks, or tubs.

Harvester ants create large nesting mounds identified by the lack of vegetation within three to six feet around the central cone-like opening. The ground surrounding the nest is typically covered with pebbles and other debris the ants have excavated from the underground tunnels they have created. They prefer to build their nests in open areas, making our Nevada yards ideal nesting sites.

How do I get rid of ants?

Using effective and ethical pest control services, the Anderson Pest Control professionals will get rid of ants from your property. We always go the extra mile to provide excellent customer service and to ensure that your home or business becomes and stays free of pests.

Through Integrated Pest Management (IPM), we combine our proven pest control methods with our knowledge of the biology and habits of the pests we treat, providing our customers with a long-term solution to their pest problems. If you are ready to learn more about our residential or commercial pest control solutions, reach out to Anderson Pest Control today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

In addition to our home pest control and commercial pest control services, protect your property from pests with the following ant prevention tips:

  • Remove fallen trees and excess piles of wood from your yard.
  • Fix leaky pipes, hoses, and fixtures that provide ants with the moisture they are searching for.
  • Seal spaces around air conditioners and utilities entering your home.
  • Caulk openings in your foundation and exterior walls.
  • Reseed bare spots in your lawn.
  • Remove woodpiles, overgrown shrubbery, and construction debris back away from your home's exterior.
  • Keep kitchens and outdoor food prep areas clear of food debris and leftover food.
  • Regularly vacuum floors and wipe down counters.
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