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Colonial America: Five Common Types of Ants
There are thousands of different pests that can plague a home, but ants remain one of the most common in the United States. Here are a few of the more common squatters.
Carpenter Ants: One of the largest ant species, these red or black pests can be found throughout the US, most commonly in the north. Their name comes from the way they excavate wood to build their nests. Though they don't eat the wood like termites do—just deposit the debris outside their nest—the tunnels they bore can weaken the structural integrity of a home over time.
Odorous Ants: These are small dark brown or black ants that, when smashed, give off a smell akin to rotten coconut. Foraging night and day, this species moves its nest regularly according to rain conditions. Inside, they live near moisture sources, such as in wall cavities near hot-water pipes or beneath leaky fixtures and water-gun cabinets.
Acrobat Ants: So named because of their tendency to raise their head over their abdomen when threatened, these ants often nest in areas already cleared out by termites or carpenter ants. They can pose a risk to homes since they sometimes strip the insulation from electrical or telephone wires.
Argentine Ants: Dark brown to black in color, these ants are often found in the southeast. Wherever they build their nests—under boards or stones, beneath plants, or alongside sidewalks—their well-defined foraging trails serve as a telltale sign of infestation.
Fire Ants: Since it first appeared in the US in the 1930s, the fire ant has plagued humans and animals alike with its painful bites and stings. Found throughout the south, fire ants favor warm, sunny conditions, so they actually tend to avoid shaded areas when building their large, irregularly shaped mounds.