Types of Ants in New England

Overview

Population: With an estimated 20,000 different species worldwide, ants represent one of the most prevalent and successful types of insects on the planet.

Environment: The small but highly prolific creatures are found in virtually every possible environment ranging from subarctic regions to tropical rainforests. Many ant species also thrive in temperate climate zones found in New England states like Connecticut and New Hampshire.

Problems: While most species of ants are harmless, others create problems by nesting in residential areas, invading homes in search of food, and even causing structural damage to buildings.

Ants in the Home: Within the highly developed urban areas of New England, certain kinds of ants commonly build nests in or near homes. They become pests that send unsightly trails of workers throughout a structure to take advantage of the various food and moisture sources available in such household settings. Homeowners with infestations can even report flying ants during mating season.

Picture of European Fire Ants

Although the different types of ants in New England share many of the same general traits regarding overall appearance and behavior, each species retains unique characteristics affecting identification and management of the pest insects.

Primary Species

Of the many ant species found in New England, the ones most often encountered indoors throughout the region are:

Carpenter Ants:

Picture of Carpenter Ants

  • Damage: Chews tunnels into wood which are called galleries. Read more about carpenter ant damage.
  • Appearance: Black or red in color & can grow to be a half inch long.
  • Nesting: Builds nests in moist places behind & around bathtubs, dishwashers & sinks. Learn how to recognize a carpenter ant infestation.

More information on carpenter ants.

Odorous House Ants:

Picture of Odorous House Ants

  • Habitat: Prefers areas with moisture, usually near drains, pipes, & toilets. These ants are not known to damage wood.
  • Size: Smaller than carpenter ants, these ants grow to be about a tenth of an inch long.

More information on odorous house ants.

Pavement Ants:

Picture of Pavement Ant

  • Nesting: Nests beneath paved areas like driveways & sidewalks.
  • Appearance: Pavement ants are dark brown to black & grow to be about an eighth of an inch long.
  • Infestation: Pavement ants gain access indoors through cracks in concrete foundations.

More information on pavement ants.

Other ant species that commonly enter New England residences include:

Ant Control in New England Homes & Businesses

  • Types of Ant Control: Insecticide dusts, sprays, or baits.
  • Selecting the right method: Choosing the most effective form of ant control depends on the species, nest location, & dietary preferences of the ant.
  • Proper Identification: Correctly identifying ant species remains critical to implementing strategies for properly managing the pest insects, as each type of ant reacts differently to insecticides.
    Certain species, for instance, will simply relocate and form new colonies when disturbed by sprays, while other ants will only eat specific kinds of foods and respond indifferently to bait that uses the wrong food sources to attract the foraging insects.
  • Professional Ant Control: Because the many types of ants found in New England may look and behave similarly to the untrained eye, area residents attempting to manage the insects should enlist the help of pest control professionals with the knowledge to identify the species and the tools necessary to execute an effective plan for removal.

More Information

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