The two most common ant species Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC residents will encounter are carpenter ants, sugar ants and odorous house ants. These annoying pests are like small soldiers that march though your house in search of food and water.
Besides being annoying, ants are known to transmit harmful bacteria like salmonella that will contaminate food and any surface they walk across. Carpenter ants are even worse in that they will make their home inside the structural wood inside your home, potentially creating a safety hazard.
Here at Affordable Pest, our ant treatment solutions are fast yet environmentally and family friendly.
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Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants stink! Most people know they have odorous house ants after stepping on a few and having their nose assaulted by a smell akin to rotten coconut. Like most ant species, they are attracted to sweet foods like sugar, honey, and syrup as well as water. The spring and fall are the times when they can be found in Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland as this is when their natural food sources are diminished or they seek shelter from wet weather.
Identifying Odorous House Ants
- Very small: less than 1/16” inch long
- Brown to black in color
- 12 antennae segments
- Produces a foul smell when crushed. Some compare the smell to rotten coconut.
The term sugar ants can refer to a number of species of ants so it’s important that they are identified properly before trying home remedies as some of these home remedies can make an ant infestation worse. Pharaoh ants, pavement ants, and acrobat ants are frequently misidentified by the public when they mean the ant species
. This species of ant is one of the largest groups of ants found in the United States. While their name implies a love of sugary foods, they are actually omnivores, eating plants and other insects or dead animals.
Identifying Sugar Ants
- ¼” to 2/3” long.
- Brownish orange color
- Large head
- Nocturnal. Most active at dusk and night
- Produces cone shaped nest when nesting outside in dirt
Carpenter ants are native to the eastern seaboard, which includes Virginia, Maryland and DC. Property owners fear the carpenter ant because they prefer to make their home inside wood, including that of homes and other structures. Unlike termites, who consume wood, carpenter ants chew through wooden structures in an effort to create passageways and chambers for their colonies, frequently causing significant structural damage. Homeowners frequently notice frass – sawdust like debris – that is discarded as a part of a carpenter ant activity.
Identifying Carpenter Ants
- ¼ to 1” in length
- Elbowed antennae with 6-13 segments
Dealing with an ant infestation
Knowing the species of ant is crucial before turning to a home remedy or over the counter remedy as many of these many of these sprays can make an infestation worse or be ineffective. Affordable Pest’s highly trained technicians are skilled at choosing the correct treatment for the type of infestation you may face. We use treatments that are eco-safe and safe for your family, pets and home.