As a homeowner in a Canadian urban area, carpenter ant pest control may be one of your major concerns. However, carpenter ants are only one of several ant species that may make nests in or around your home. Effective residential pest control requires knowing the specific species you are dealing with as not all methods are equally effective against all pests. Here are three species of ants that you are likely to encounter around your urban Canadian home and how to tell them apart.
1. Pavement Ants
Pavement ants prefer to make their nests in soil without vegetation. Since it is often necessary to clear soil before pouring walkways, patios, or foundations, you will often find them alongside these concrete structures outdoors, hence their name.
Pavement ants are not native to Canada. They originated in Europe but have been in North America since the 19th century. Pavement ants are most likely to make a nuisance of themselves by building large nests outside. They usually do not nest inside but may come inside to forage, especially during cold weather. You need to keep a watch for them because they can carry microbes on their bodies that can contaminate your food.
Pavement ants are black or pale brown in colour. Their bodies are approximately 2 mm long. They have modified stingers that may be visible to the naked eye, but these appendages are not used to attack. Rather, they are used to secrete pheromones to leave trails behind for other ants to follow.
2. Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants are similar in size to pavement ants. You can tell them apart because Pharaoh ants are much lighter in colour, ranging from red to yellowish brown. Like the pavement ant, the Pharaoh ant is not native to North America. Unlike the pavement ant, the Pharaoh ant is more likely to nest indoors. It most likely originated from Africa, and therefore it needs a warm climate in which to nest. To survive in Canada, it needs to make nests in heated homes and will seek them out specifically.
Once they get inside your home, Pharaoh ants can nest in places that you might not expect:
- Electrical outlets
- Trash cans
It makes finding their nests a challenge, but once you do find them, you can be pretty sure that they are Pharaoh ants rather than pavement ants, which nest primarily outside. Having Pharaoh ants exterminated is important to prevent them from contaminating your food as they forage.
3. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants may be the easiest to recognize because of their size. They can be up to 10 times larger than either the pavement ant or the Pharaoh ant. Their bodies are reddish brown to black in colour. Unlike the other two species, carpenter ants are native to Canada. In the wild, they can be beneficial by helping dead wood and logs to decay. It is only when carpenter ants get into homes that they become pests.
Unlike the other ant species, carpenter ants feed primarily on other insects, so it is unlikely that they will contaminate your food while they are foraging. The problem with carpenter ants is that they can cause extensive structural damage by hollowing out tunnels in wood to make their nests. If you see carpenter ants in your home, or you find unexplained little piles of sawdust near wooden structures, you need to call for carpenter ant removal right away.
Choose Truly Nolen for Carpenter Ant Pest Control
Our technicians are trained to identify the type of pest infesting your home and formulate a residential pest control plan designed to be effective against that particular species. Find a location near you to have one of our technicians come out to assess your property.