What Do Little Black Ants Look Like?
As their name suggests, little black ants are rather small. A worker ant is about the same length as the head of a pin. Queens may reach double that size at one-eighth inch long, or roughly the width of a matchhead. This insect can be dark brown or shiny black with a narrow waist and a large back end.
How Can I Tell if I Have a Little Black Ant Problem?
Outside, little black ants live in a variety of terrain. They might build crater-like nests in the ground surrounded by fine soil or take shelter under rocks and logs. Flower beds, gardens, and mulched areas serve as common habitats. If the colony settles near a building, these small pests can wander inside. Some signs of infestation include:
- Nests – Indoors, little black ants prefer to live in woodwork, baseboards, and wall voids or under carpeting. Slow-moving and predictable, they tend to follow each other in lines to and from a food source. By noting their path, you might be able to locate the nest.
- Wings – During mating season, reproductives shed their wings once they find a partner. If you spot flying ants in your home or see multiple sets of discarded wings on floors and windowsills, the nest is probably inside.
- Sightings – One or two little black ants may come into buildings by accident on clothing or a pet’s fur. Seeing groups of them near kitchens, pantries, cafeterias, or break rooms is more likely an infestation.
- Smell – When crushed, these pests give off a scent similar to rotting fruit. Infested areas may have this unusual and unpleasant smell.
How Do Little Black Ants Get Inside Homes and Businesses?
A little black ant enters buildings through cracks in and around foundations, vents, pipes, or window and door frames. Restaurants, bakeries, and food-grade warehouses are especially susceptible to infestation since they offer easy meals, though this insect is just as common in household kitchens.
Crumbs and sugary spills attract little black ants looking to feast on fruits, vegetables, sweets, and meats. When an ant discovers a food source, it creates a pheromone trail back to the nest for other ants to follow. Well-fed colonies begin to grow rapidly and may build satellite nests indoors.
Are Little Black Ants Dangerous?
Little black ants are not known to bite people or spread harmful diseases. However, when the pests breed, they are notorious for multiplying by the thousands. Their massive colonies can be difficult to control, spreading to undesirable places like countertops, cabinets, and dining rooms.
An infestation creates additional issues in the foodservice and logistics industries. Spotting clusters of little black ants or finding them in food can deter customers, unsettle employees, and lead to failed inspections. Companies may also need to discard entire crates of nibbled produce.
How Can I Prevent Little Black Ant Infestations?
To avoid little black ant problems, keep foundations in good repair and make sure all windows and doors seal tightly. While it may not be practical to block every ant-sized hole, you can limit possible food sources. Store all pantry goods in closed, air-tight containers and refrigerate any fruits or vegetables.
If you’re already dealing with little black ants, quick and complete removal is key. Disturbing a nest without fully removing the colony may cause the pests to scatter and construct several new nests, making control even tougher. Act fast at the first sign of infestation by contacting the professionals at Waltham Pest Services.