Ants might be small, but they’re mighty. In fact, if you combined the body mass of every ant in the world, it would be heavier than the weight of all humans combined. With thousands of species around the world and highly populated colonies, these insects have some of the biggest impacts on the environment, both worldwide and right here in Saratoga County.
Despite their importance, ants belong outdoors. While the majority of ants are simply nuisance pests, their danger to New York households cannot be understated. Let’s go over some of the common ants in Saratoga County and what homeowners should do if they think there’s an infestation on or inside their property.
Saratoga County’s Ant Identification Guide
Most ants are considered nuisance pests, meaning that they don’t bring direct damage to your household or health, but they’re annoying to have around and they may be harboring diseases. Nuisance or otherwise, most ant species share the same general traits.
An ant’s body is segmented into three parts: the head, the thorax (midsection), and the abdomen (end section). Six legs protrude from the thorax, a small stinger rests at the end of the abdomen, and a pair of antennae and pincers sit at the head. Many of these details can’t be seen unless you get up close.
Saratoga County is home to a few ant species that are common pests for households. Among them are the pavement ant, which is a dark brown ant that grows 2-4 mm in length and commonly occupies the ground beneath asphalt; the little black ant, which grows to only 1-2 mm and loves to occupy small cracks; and the odorous house ant, which grows to 2-3 mm and is named for the musty smell it leaves – akin to rotting coconuts.
Only one ant is explicitly dangerous to your household: the carpenter ant. These ants have shiny black bodies, grow around 12 mm, and build their colonies inside moist or decaying wood. If you’ve seen these pests, they’re likely weakening your home’s foundation as you read this.
Dangerous or not, all ants can vector harmful diseases including E. coli, salmonella, dysentery, and anthrax. Once they invade, ants are extremely difficult to remove from the house on account of their small size and potentially large populations. The best way to get rid of ants is to keep them from getting inside in the first place.
Ant Prevention Tips
Despite how universal ants are, there are several pest prevention strategies you can use to keep them out of the house.
- Start by eliminating what attracts ants – open trash, easy access to waste, and an available food supply in your pantry. Ants are foragers and will eat almost anything, as long as they can reach it.
- Because ants can smell food from far away, it is best to clean up food spills as soon as they happen.
- Remove standing water around the house as well. Ants rely on water to live so the fewer puddles around your property, the better.
- Seal up potential entry points, like cracks in door frames, window sills, rooftop eaves, or even around crawl spaces.
Sealing Up The House
How do you know where to seal around the house? Because ants are so tiny, there are tons of potential entry points. The best place to start is by touching up the caulking around your windows and ensuring your doors have an airtight seal. You should also do a thorough, multi-day inspection of every exterior surface of the home, especially the roof, chimney, eaves, pipes, and vents. These are some of the main thoroughfares for ant infestations.
Finally, many ant species tend to follow a line in and out of the house, so it might be useful to find this ant line and follow it to wherever they’re moving in and out, then seal up the crack promptly.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to prevent ants from getting inside, and their tiny size and large colonies mean that the ants will come back as soon as you kick them out. Rather than building your own frustration by trying DIY methods, contact the pest professionals at Old School Pest Control, and we’ll take care of your ant problem so that they never come back to your home.