What you need to know about the types of ants in Texas. Ant, though small in size is quite a big deal. Let us now proceed to learn about them, particularly about those in Texas. We start with a proper definition-
What are Ants?
Ants are social insects that live and work together in large groups. They range in size from a pin-head to a thumbnail. Ants are most easily identifiable by their physical appearance: all ants have three distinct body parts as their defining feature: a head, thorax, and abdomen- the three parts are clearly marked for separation. And their heads are all equipped with a pair of bent antennae which serve as a sense of touch and to detect changes in the temperature.
A group of ants living together is called a colony. Within an ant colony, there are three different castes: workers, soldiers, and reproductive ones (king and queen). Only the reproductive members of the ant colony have wings- they are usually bigger than other ants in the colony as well. Ants vary in color and size depending on their specific species, and that color and size is usually a means to identify the species. You may have come across ants that are yellow, red, brown, or black in color, or sometimes you may find ants that are a combination of several different colors.
Types of Ants in Texas
The Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants are the largest types of ants that you can find strolling around your house in Texas. They are described as an invasive species that have taken over the scene in Texas. The ants are big in size, the queens can grow up to an inch in length. Naturally, when nesting outdoors, carpenter ants often build their nests in dark, damp areas underneath fall trees, tree stumps, or under piles of wood. If for some reason the decision to settle down in a house they, build their nests inside the wood: maybe the structural wood, pillars, or doorposts of homes.
Identification, What they look like: Carpenter ants have big heads and abdomens that seem disproportionate to their bodies. They are brown in color and may have dark-colored abdomens. These are big ants and can measure from your small fingernail to your thumbnail. That is 0.64 to 2.5cm.
Crazy ants are so named because they move about in a frantic and disorganized manner. They appear to have no direction in the movement, and as soon as they feel threatened they run about in a much more frantic manner.
Identification, What they look like: Crazy ants are brown colored and resemble Carpenter Ants except that they are a little smaller, and generally lack the dark-colored abdomen of the carpenter ants.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous House Ants are black ants that can range in size from half the nail of your little finger to the full length of the nail of your little finger. They emit a very unpleasant, rotten coconut odor when threatened or crushed. They also have a painful sting and are quite aggressive.
Identification, What they look like: Odorous house ants can be dark brown or black in color and are less than 3 millimeters or 1/8 inches in length. They will generally fit into your small finger-nail. They are quite agile, have small heads, and are most easily recognizable by there most distinctive feature: their smell (rotten coconut smell when crushed).
Fire ants are an aggressive species of ants and will attack perceived threats aggressively and in large numbers. Fire ants prefer to build their nests in open, sunny areas and generally tend to avoid building nests in wooded areas or where there is a lot of shade. This keeps them out of the way of carpenter ants. However, Fire ants are highly aggressive and are known to deliver a powerful sting that can be extremely painful to both people and pets. Their stings are so bad that they are known to have caused anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention.
Identification, What they look like: These are dark reddish-brown ants, are slightly smaller in size than carpenter ants.
Little Black Ants
Little Black Ants are a tiny kind of ants that pose no harm to people. They are found in the natural environment in barks of living trees, or in hollow stumps of fallen trees, or in rock crevices or whichever suitable spot, where they are safe from flooding. They are known to abandon unsuitable nests, carrying eggs and nymphs in a migratory manner. when they enter a home they will usually be found in the kitchen or wherever the trash can is kept.
Identification, What they look like: Little black ants are not so little; they are at least about 2mm in length. They are black, as the name implies.
Pavement Ants get their names from the area where they choose to nest or build their colonies- pavements. These ants prefer nesting spots in the cracks and crevices that can be found in or around pavements, sidewalks, foundations, and also concrete slabs. They are not classified as a dangerous type of ants.
Identification, What they look like: Pavement ants are dark brown ants that just as small as little black ants. The major defining difference is that they are brownish in color.
Argentine ants another type of ants that are not classified as dangerous and that pose no significant risks to people or pets even when they nest in a home. However, they do have the potential to enter homes in large numbers, and when they do, they can contaminate food items and introduce bacteria into the home.
Identification, What they look like: Argentine ants are reddish-brown ants that typically have a length of around 3mm. They characteristically move in numbers. They are typically slow-moving until they feel threatened.
Are Ants Dangerous?
Regardless of what you have seen in Apocalyptic sci-fi movies, ants are not likely to invade your house at night and kill your entire family. However, ants still have the potential to be dangerous in many different ways, and that depends on the species. Some species like Carpenter Ants can be destructive to property, they can eat through all the wood with which a house is built. Other types of ants can introduce diseases and bacteria into a home, and others can sting, and that sting can cause physical harm to people and pets.
Why do I have Ants in my House?
Ants usually prefer to nest outdoors in the natural environment. They are particularly attracted to homes that offer them convenient places to nest, along with a constant supply of food and water. Once an ant colony has decided that your house is a convenient place to nest, it is only a matter of time before they find their way into your home. To make it short, ants come into your home because they need food.
But they should get food in the natural environment, you say. Well, you are not wrong, but sometimes ants are forced into a home, while at other times they are invited. This is what we mean: Ants will sometimes enter people’s homes when the weather is too harsh for them to live outdoors comfortably. Periods of heavy rain can flood their nests or make it impossible for them to forage for food. Drought can also make it hard for them to find food and water or can make the weather scorching hot. When the weather is too hot or too cold, that can also drive ants indoors. They can also be invited when the house has lots of food lying around. When the trash can is not properly covered, or when the dining table is not properly wiped down after a meal, or when the kitchen is not thoroughly vacuumed. All these can invite ants to find food in the house. Other things that can attract ants to a house include gardens, clogged gutters, compost piles, and pet food.
How do Ants Get in?
Ants are usually known to enter homes through cracks and crevices found in the foundation, or openings in or around windows, doors, and utilities they encounter such as the air-conditioner. If you have any of these things on your house or have any damages in the exterior of your home, you may be more at risk for an ant infestation, or ants may already be in your house.
What do you Need to Do?
Repair any damages in your house exterior, such as the windows, doors. Coat or cover up any cracks or crevices in the building, both on the outside and on the inside.
Furthermore, ensure that your trash can has a tight-fitting lid.
Make sure that you wipe down your dining table, and that you vacuum your house regularly. Pay particular attention to the dining room and kitchen areas.