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Ants: Information and resources

Ants will travel a wide range searching for food. They follow trails they have established and cluster around the source of food, causing them to become a nuisance in homes, organizations, and businesses. Garden and black house ants aren’t known to carry diseases, but you don’t know where they’ve been, so you won’t want them marching through your food cupboards.

Call Ehrlich at 800-837-5520 to talk to an ant control expert or contact us online.


  • Size: 1/16" to 1/8" in length
  • Color: Brown, black, or red
  • Body: Divided into three distinct sections: head, thorax, and abdomen with elbowed antennae
carpenter ant

Ant species of concern

There are over 12,000 ant species found on the planet. Below are a few of the most common ones found in residential areas.

Black house ants

Black house ants (Ochetellus) feed on oil, grease, meat, fruits, vegetables, and sweets. They are often found in kitchens on messy countertops and around garbage.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants (Camponotus) are among the largest ant species and are very difficult to control. They are often found traveling via structural guidelines on a building's exterior.

Ghost ants

Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) feed on sweet substances and grease. They nest in small spaces, wall voids, and flowerpots, and are attracted to areas high in moisture.

Odorous house ants

Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) are very common and found throughout the United States. Their nests are usually outdoors, but they will travel long distances for food and water.

Pavement ants

Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum), like their namesake, build mounds along sidewalks and driveways. They also nest in lawns and under stones, wood, and boards.

Red imported fire ants

The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is a nuisance to homeowners in southern states. They will sting humans in large numbers when their nest is disturbed.

Contact your local ant control expert

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What you need to know about ants

No matter what type of ant you encounter, there are a few things you need to know about ants that are consistent across the board.


Ants are ‘opportunity nesters,’ meaning they will nest in the soil around the foundation and in void spaces in the interior of homes. Most species of ants move their nest every few months or in response to rain. Sometimes, ants may overwinter in void spaces and be active in the home year-round.


Ants undergo a complete metamorphosis, including egg, larva, pupa, and adult life stages. The entire process can take up to 60 days to complete. One ant colony can contain over 10,000 members and can survive for several years. Depending on the species of ant, one colony can contain more than one queen and each queen can lay thousands of eggs.


Ants are one of nature’s biggest scavengers. They will eat anything humans eat, but they prefer to feed on sweets, and are especially fond of honeydew produced by aphids. Most species of ant are omnivorous, feeding on just about everything, but there are some species that feed exclusively on plants.

Frequently asked questions

Do ants bite?

Some species of ants bite. All ant species have mandibles on the front of their heads that are used to tear apart food and take it back to their nest. Certain species of ants will use these mandibles to bite if they feel threatened, like the red imported fire ants and carpenter ants.

How do I find where ants are coming from?

Ants are usually entering your home through small openings, cracks in the foundation, drains, holes or openings in exterior walls made for venting or cables, or underneath doorways. Check these areas for frequent ant activity and ant trails.

A trained professional can also find the places where ants are getting in or likely to get in. Then they'll provide a treatment plan to get rid of the nest and prevent further infestations.

Does vinegar kill ants?

Vinegar could potentially kill ants if sprayed directly on them, however, there wouldn’t be much efficacy in terms of a residual that will kill the ants. Vinegar actually has a pretty weak chemical bond, so it really does not leave much residue after it evaporates.

Also, since vinegar is a diluted acetic acid, we do not recommend spraying it on surfaces such as natural stone, waxed wood, hardwoods, cast iron, or aluminum, as it could damage or stain the finish.

What smells do ants hate?

Ants communicate using smells and scents called pheromones, so any product that would disrupt their pheromone trails would be something that ants wouldn’t like.

Smells that deter ants can vary widely depending on the species. Some DIY solutions can actually exacerbate existing problems. However, any product that "may" repel ants will not last long as a residual. The best solution when dealing with ants is the use of baits, so contacting a pest control provider as soon as possible is key!

How do I get rid of ants in my house?

The best way to get rid of ants in your house is to work with us to have them removed. The ants that you see in your home are only 1%-5% of the entire ant colony, so DIY methods will not eliminate the entire infestation. Most DIY methods only work to remove the ants temporarily, and before you know it, you’ll have ants coming back into your home.

Our ant removal methods will get to the root of the problem. Your specialist will find where ants are entering your home and where they are nesting. They will then work to remove the entire colony, leaving your house ant-free.

More about ants

How to prevent ants

Prevention tips to keep ants away.

Ant species

Find out what type of ant you are seeing.

Carpenter ants: What not to do

See what you should avoid doing if you have a carpenter ant problem.

How to get rid of ants

Practical advice on how to get rid of ants.

Get rid of carpenter ants

See how Ehrlich can help you get rid of carpenter ants.

Get rid of flying ants

Seeing flying ants? Here's how to get rid of them.

Signs of an ant infestation

Know what to look for.

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