Common Ants in Kansas

Acrobat Ant - Betts Pest Control - Ants Pest Control

Acrobat Ant

Appearance
Acrobat ants get their name from their habit of acrobatically raising their abdomen above their head, especially when they are disturbed. When viewed from above, the abdomen is heart-shaped. There are several species of acrobat ants in the United States. Acrobat ants are small; most species are less than 5.4 mm in length. Many emit an unpleasant odor when disturbed.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
Outdoors, acrobat ants nest near moisture such as under stones, in stumps, in rotting logs and under woodpiles. When they invade homes, acrobat ants often nest in damp areas such as in foam sheathing behind siding, and they even have been found nesting in roofing near a leaking skylight.

Acrobat ants often nest in wood that termites or carpenter ants have damaged. It is common for acrobat ants to clean out the galleries that other insects have made in the wood. They push the dirt or wood scraps out of the galleries. Sometimes homeowners find this debris and think there is an active termite infestation.

Acrobat ants normally eat insects and honeydew, a sugary waste excreted by sap-feeding insects like aphids. Acrobat ants protect the aphids that produce the honeydew. If acrobat ants come into a home, they usually prefer sweets and meat.

The acrobat ant workers enter homes in several ways. Sometimes they make a trail across the ground. Door thresholds and construction gaps are common entryways. Workers can also follow tree limbs or shrubs that touch the house. They have even made their trails on utility lines. The ants can enter the home through the same opening that pipes or wires go through.

Signs of Infestation
Acrobat ants are capable of nesting inside buildings, sometimes inside insulated spaces. The most visible sign of acrobat ants are the trails of ants as they forage for resources. A second sign is the debris they deposit as they excavate their nests. This often consists of foam insulation and dead ants near the nest.

Carpenter Ant - Betts Pest Control - Ants Pest Control

Carpenter Ant

Appearance
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States, ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm long. The most common color is black, but some species have reddish or yellowish coloration. Workers have large mandibles.

 

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
Carpenter ants reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They excavate wood by biting and spitting out wood to form their nests and provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. This activity produces wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants which provides clues to nesting locations.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they will feed on a variety of food people eat—particularly sweets and meats. They will also feed on other insects.

Signs of Infestation
Carpenter ant workers and swarmers (winged ants) are the most likely sign homeowners observe. The workers may be observed foraging for food. Swarmers usually are produced when a colony matures and is ready to form new colonies. These winged individuals often indicate a well-established colony. An additional sign of carpenter ant activity is the debris they produce from tunneling in the wood. Rough wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants from the colony indicate carpenter ant nesting activity. A final sign may be the “rustling” sound sometimes heard as the ants go about their activity in the home’s wood.

Odorous House Ant - Betts Pest Control - Ants Pest Control

Odorous House Ant

Appearance
Odorous house ants, sometimes called odorous ants, are small, measuring 2.4 to 3.3 mm in length and are the most common ant in Kansas. They have dark brown or black bodies with one node on their petiole, which is hidden by their abdomens. Odorous house ants have an unevenly shaped thorax when viewed from the side. The most distinguishable characteristic of odorous house ants is the smell of rotten coconut that is emitted when their bodies are crushed.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
Odorous ant nests are found in a great variety of situations. Inside buildings, they are often found nesting in the walls or beneath the floor. They are most likely to invade buildings during rainy weather. Odorous ants travel in trails, foraging day and night.

Outdoors, odorous ants often feed on honeydew, a sugary waste produced from sap from feeding insects such as aphids. Inside buildings, they prefer sweet items but will also feed on meats and grease.

Signs of an Odorous Ant Infestation
The most likely sign of odorous house ants is the foraging worker ants, although winged swarmers also might be observed.

Pavement Ant - Betts Pest Control - Ants Pest Control

Pavement Ant

Appearance
Pavement ants are light brown to black with appendages lighter than rest of the body. They are about 2.5 to 3 mm long, with parallel lines on head and thorax. They have 12-segmented antennae with a three-segmented club.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
Pavement ants invade buildings while foraging for food. Nests are outdoors under stones, along curbs or in cracks of pavement. They can nest indoors in walls and under floors.

Pavement ants will feed on a wide variety of foods, including meats, grease, live and dead insects, seeds and honeydew from aphids. They prefer to eat greasy foods, and can eat many foods consumed by humans. They forage for food for their colonies and set up trails to food sources from their nests. Pavement ant workers enter houses to forage and can become a nuisance when large groups infest a kitchen or garden patio. They can sting and bite.

Pavement ants don’t bite, although they do possess the ability to sting. Pavement ants are docile and not aggressive, preferring to avoid confrontation rather than stinging to defend themselves.

Signs of Infestation
Worker pavement ants are the most likely sign, but other indicators can be small piles of excavated materials or even the swarmers. Contact Betts for quality ant pest control.

Pharaoh Ant - Betts Pest Control - Ants Pest Control

Pharaoh Ant

Appearance
Pharaoh ants are very small—about 2 mm long. They have light yellow bodies with red and black markings on the abdomen.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
Pharaoh ants can take advantage of artificial heating in buildings to survive the winter. Infestations commonly occur in food service areas. They will nest in well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure, but they can also nest outdoors in lawns or gardens in warm climates. Pharaoh ants eat food of all types, but especially sweets. They will also eat other insects.

Signs of Pharaoh Ant Infestation
The best sign are the small amber-colored workers as they forage along surfaces.