Ants (General)

What do ants look like?  

Ants are members of the order Hymenoptera which also includes bees and wasps.  Ants are identified from most other insects by their lack of wings (except for swarmers—which are reproductive) and their narrow waist or petiole (the narrow one or two-segmented connection between the thorax and the abdomen).  Ants have prominent eyes and their antennae are elbowed.  Some species of ants have one or more pairs of tiny spines on the top-most part of their body and stingers at the tip of their abdomen.  While some ants don’t sting, others like fire ants are common in the southeastern United States and especially in north Florida and can inflict painful stings if their nests are disturbed.  Our entomologist expert trained technicians can help you identify which species of ants you are dealing with and ensure you don’t meet the wrath inflicted by fire ant stings.  

What are ant swarmers and what do they look like?

During certain times of the year such as spring and/or fall, some ant colonies produce winged reproductive—also known as swarmers. These swarmers are the new queens and look anatomically similar to worker ants except they have two pairs of clear wings that have very few veins. The first pair of wings are noticeably almost twice the size of the second pair.

What is the danger of ants?  

Some ant species have stingers and can inflict stings similar to wasps. The greatest risk to humans when stung by ants is anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening even in sensitized individuals. Fire ants that are common in the coastal areas of Florida such as Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Palm Coast are the species most commonly associated with stinging.  These pesky ants can sting multiple times and when disturbed, they attack in massive numbers. Their sting is characterized by intense pain, redness, swelling and the formation of a pustule after approximately 24 hours.  InnoTech Pest Management’s licensed and expert trained service technicians can protect your family by eliminating and preventing dangerous fire ant colonies.  

What kind of damage is caused by ants? 

Several ant species can cause structural damage. Unlike termites, however, wood infesting ants do not eat wood, since they are incapable of digesting cellulose. Carpenter ants and sometimes acrobat ants can infest wood, foam insulation (commonly used in stucco exteriors of north-Florida homes) and use these areas as nesting sites. Carpenter ant damage can be extensive particularly in the presence of a moisture problem such as a leaking roof.  

What do ants eat?  

Ants feed on various foods, often changing their preferences from spring to fall as their nutrition needs change seasonally. Ants commonly feed on other insects, seeds, and honeydew (a sugary solution produced by plant-feeding insects, such as aphids). Once a food source is located worker ants establish a trail using a pheromone (a chemical produced by the ants for communication) which other worker ants follow to the adopted food source.

Are ants social insects?  

Ants are considered social insects because they live in colonies and have a caste system of reproductive queens as well as sterile workers. Depending on the species, a colony may have more than one queen, but the majority of the colony consists of workers. Males are produced during the swarming season and serve only to mate with swarming queens. While most new colonies are established in this manner, some species form colonies by budding—where a portion of workers and one or more queens split-off from the founding colony.

Innotech Pest Management serves the greater Palm Coast, St. Augustine and Jacksonville Florida regions. Click to schedule an appointment if you need assistance with eliminating ants.