Common Ants

Allegheny Mound Ants

Allegheny mound ant workers are about 1/4” to1/8” long with a reddish brown head and thorax and a dark brown to black abdomen. These ants nest in mounds and leaf piles in fields and wooded areas. These mounds can get quite large. Sometimes these ants are mistaken for fire ants as they are aggressive and will bite when they are disturbed. They typically do not enter homes but can be found foraging around doors, patios, and decks. Locating and treating the mounds directly is key for control. (Image © S. VanDine)

Crazy Ants

These ants get their name from the way they dart around the floor looking for food. Workers are 1/16” to 1/8”long dark brown to black. They like to nest under floors and in wall voids especially by hot water pipes. Special insecticide dusts in wall voids where ants are nesting seems to work best. Baiting for these ants can be successful if done carefully by a professional. (Image courtesy NPMA.)

Little Black Ants

These ants are small about 1/16” long and black. They nest in decaying wood and masonry. They feed on grease, meats, fruit, vegetables, and sweets. Careful baiting with professional materials works best to control this species. ( M Pandi)

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants may vary in color from brown, red, to black but are usually blackish in color in West Michigan. Their size may range from 1/8” to 1/2” in length. Carpenter ants construct two different kinds of nests; parent colonies, which when mature contain an egg-laying queen, brood, and 2000 or more worker ants, and satellite colonies which may have a large number of worker ants but no queen, eggs, or larvae.Carpenter ants may establish colonies inside and/or outside the structure. Carpenter ants found inside a structure may have originated from the parent colony located outdoors in a tree, tree stump, landscaping timbers, woodpiles, or one or more satellite nests hidden behind a wall. Carpenter ants prefer to nest in wood that has been damaged by water or fungi. Carpenter ants do not feed on the wood but hollow it out for nesting. Wood that has been damaged by carpenter ants contains no mud-like material as is the case with termites. Shredded fragments of wood similar in appearance to course sawdust called frass are ejected from galleries through slits made by the ants or preexisting cracks. When such accumulations are found it is a good indication that a carpenter ant nest is near. Unfortunately, all too often the frass is hidden behind a wall or in another concealed area.The best way to control carpenter ants is to find and destroy the nests. It takes experience, skill, and a little bit of luck to determine where carpenter ants are nesting. It also takes experience and skill to determine what type of products to use, when and where to use them for successful elimination of carpenter ants in the structure. (Image © Joseph Calev/

Odorous House Ants

These ants get there name from the pungent odor they give off when crushed. They are about 1/16” to 1/8” long with a brown to black body. These ants can be difficult to control because they nest inside wall voids and crevices around sinks and cupboards. Some baits work well but numerous placements are needed because the colonies can get large. Insecticide dusts also work well if it can be applied to the void areas where the ants are nesting. (Image © Jefrey Budd, Shoreline Services, Inc.)

Pavement Ants

These ants are about 1/16” to 1/8” long with a light brown to black body. These ants are usually found at ground level coming up around vents in floors, coming in around thresholds, or coming up through cracks in slab floors. Baits or residual insecticides work well to control these ants. (Image © Joesph Berger,

Pharaoh Ants

Workers are very small about 1/16” long and very pale in color. These ants are the most difficult to control in a building. The colonies are very large, usually in the thousands. New nests may be formed with a queen and a few workers from the original nest. This is called “budding”. If you think you have pharaoh ants, do not treat these ants yourself. Treating these ants with a repellant insecticide will cause the nest to “bud” into several colonies. Baiting is the best method of control and this has to be done with caution. If the foraging ants are disturbed with the bait or bait stations, this may cause the colony to “bud” leaving you with a bigger problem. So if you think you have pharaoh ants, do not treat them; call us. ( Ghosh)

Thief Ants

Thief ants are small, about 1/16” long. The body is yellowish to dark brown in color. They have a habit of going into nearby ant colonies and robbing them of food and larvae. They are also known for feeding on dead rodents. They will nest in woodwork and masonry and will forage in trails looking for food. Baiting is a very effective control measure. (Image © Joesph Berger, )

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