Different Types of Ants and How to Deal With Them

Once they enter a dwelling, ants seem to get everywhere. They’re in the pantry, in the kitchen, and can even get into your bedroom. The result is uncomfortable, to say the least. These pesky creatures can get into your food and clothes. If you’re looking to pest-proof your home on your own, it’s necessary to understand the different kinds of ants. This understanding will help us figure out how to deal with them.

Ants might look similar, but they’re not all eradicated by the same method. Here are some of the more common ant types and what we can do if we find them in our home or workspace:

1. Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are among the most common types that you can find in the United States. We can usually find them in every state. Its distinctive features are pale legs and brownish-black bodies. If you put a specimen of these under a microscope, you might be able to see two spines at the thorax’s end.

Once you identify your pests as being pavement ants, you can follow their trail to find out their source. Even if you can’t find the place where the ants are coming in, put some ant bait stations along their trail. You’d be able to follow the directions that come with these bait traps.

Once the worker ants find the bait, they’ll carry it back to the queen. The queen will eat it, which will eliminate her as well as any future ant populations.

If you find that the ant trail goes to a nest below the ground or somewhere outdoors, you can get a natural insecticide and drench the nest with it. There might also be commercial options available that are approved by the authorities. Note that indoor ants are not to be sprayed, as this will only kill some worker ants and not the whole colony.

2. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are usually found in decaying, moist wood that’s located outdoors as well as in buildings. If you neglect such infestations in your home or nearby outdoor spaces, they’ll spread into healthy wood and damage it too.

Such ants also have several nesting sites, with one parent colony and many satellite colonies. If you notice carpenter ants in your space, you can do the following:

First, trim away any trees or shrubs away from your building. Caulk up any holes that might have been caused by cables or wires, especially if they’re in exterior walls. This will prevent the ants from entering your home and making things worse.

Next, remove any decaying or aging wood. It might be possible to repair the affected wood, but removing it completely is usually the most effective method.

After that, you’d need to apply some insecticide around the affected area. This should be in a radius of about two to four feet wide, depending upon the severity of the infestation. You can use either a liquid or a granular product. The application is best done in the fall and the spring. Another method is to place insecticide baits in the trails of the carpenter ants.

3. Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are prone to nesting in almost any place; you’d be able to find them in debris, nests, under stones, mulch, etc. If the ants get into your home, they’ll be in the insulation, windrow frames, walls, and every nook or cranny.

You can keep these ants away from your home by first trimming away any shrubbery or trees from the building. If the ants are inside the home, you can use baits for killing them. Alternatively, you can apply insecticides to the perimeter around your home, being careful to also apply it under the siding. This will prevent the ants from coming in.

4. Red Imported Fire Ants

Unfortunately, fire ants infest a lot of places at the same time. While it might be impossible to protect your precious home from pests like these, there are steps that you can take to suppress or reduce their damage. These steps include the following:

You can set insecticide baits for controlling fire ants. The worker ants will carry the poison back to the nest, which will do away with that particular colony. However, the battle is far from over, as there are several other colonies to deal with.

There are also insecticides that are especially made for eliminating fire ants. Use this in the areas where you suspect that multiple nests might be. This step will also help to prevent ants from coming into an area in the first place. Such insecticides are usually granular, which you have to apply with a spreader.

5. Thief Ants or Grease Ants

These ants could be found nesting indoors and can be properly eliminated with baiting. All you have to do is place a little bit of the greasy bait near any suspected area that might have been affected.

However, if these ants are found nesting outdoors, the best way to eliminate them is to treat the nest directly. If following the trail doesn’t reveal the nest or the nest is in a very difficult place, treat the perimeter around your home. This will at least prevent the outdoor ants from coming inside, which they might do when searching for new food sources or seeking to build new nests.


Before you try to get rid of any pest in your home, workplace, or garden, it’s probably best to take a look at organic pest control. Getting alternatives to those harmful chemicals is safer for the environment and for yourself, especially if there are children and pets around the house. However, if there’s a serious infestation, it might be time to call in a professional and break out the big guns.