There are over 65,000 species of ants in the world and Texas provides a home for many of them. It would be impossible to list them all here in the confines of our web space, however a few of the most common species native to our area are listed below.
Ants vary in color from yellow to red to brown and black and various combinations of these. Like all insects, ants have three distinctive body parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. All ants have a pair of elbowed (bent) antennae on the head and a constricted area between the thorax and abdomen.
Ants live in colonies and are made up of workers, soldiers and the queen. The queen is the largest ant and has wings. She is in charge of reproduction and caring for the young. The workers collect food for the colony and are usually small females, but can also include males. The soldiers are usually larger males and protect the colony. The soldiers are also used for mating - they die after they mate.
Ants can be a very frustrating pests to deal with either indoors or outdoors. They establish their colonies in and around your home and, considering how hardy ants can be, are very resistant to extermination efforts. Knowing what species of ant is present is necessary to determine the best method of management. In most cases, the most effective, permanent solution is to find and treat the nest; queens must be killed to properly eliminate a colony.
The professionals at Soutwestern A-1 Pest Control can help you to control these pests and remove them from your property and home.
Listed below are some of the more easily recognized and common house and backyard ants of Texas. Some of these species, such as Carpenter Ants and Red Fire Ants, prove more common than others to our immediate area and can make a large impact on our homes and environment.
Red Fire Ants
Red Fire Ants are red with large eyes and a stinger located on their abdomens. The fire ant is incredibly aggressive and can inflict a fiery, painful sting. Because of their aggressive nature, fire ants in particular can bite multiple times and in multiple numbers. These ants almost always nest outdoors in dirt mounds located in your lawn, alleys or vacant lots. They may also enter buildings in search of food and water, especially in late summer..
Fire ants present the largest impact of any species in Texas.
Carpenter ants are generally large, and may be solid black, brown, or a combination of black and orange. Workers vary in size. Carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal, coming out at night to follow trails along fences, tree limbs, water hoses or other linear objects. They do not sting, but can bite. They nest in hollow trunks and branches of trees, but will also make their homes in hollow doors, boxes, and the walls and ceilings of buildings. Carpenter ant species can weaken structures by nesting in and altering wood.
These medium-sized ants are frequently confused with carpenter ants because of their similar color and nesting habits, however, unlike carpenter ants, they are mostly active during the day. When disturbed, acrobat ants lift their abdomen into the air as a defensive posture, much like an acrobat might balance on her hands. (hence their name). Acrobat ants most commonly nest in trees, but will also make their homes in the walls and insulation of structures.
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