Ants are social insects that live in colonies that can have 1 or more queens. An average sized colony is comprised of around 4,000 ants. They can colonize in the ground, leaf clutter, or inside a structure. They have a 3-part segmented body: the Head, Thorax, and Gaster. Reproductive ants are winged. These insects can carry 20 times their body weight and live an average of 45-60 days.


There are several kinds of ants that may occur in and around the home ranging in size from about 1/32 to 3/4 inch long and colored yellowish, light brown, reddish-brown, brownish-black, or jet black. Ants, as all insects, have three body regions. head, thorax, and abdomen. Most are wingless, but the homeowner sometimes may confuse swarming, winged ants with swarming, winged termites, causing alarm. Ants can be easily distinguished from termites by several characteristics:
  • Ant bodies appear constricted or pinched in at the waist (shaped like a figure 8), while termites do not have the waist constriction.
  • Ants have elbowed antennae, while termites have straight, bead-like antennae.
  • The forewings of ants are much larger than the hindwings. Termites' wings are equal in size and
  • shape.
  • Ant wings are transparent or brownish, while termite wings are milky-white or grayish and longer than the body.
  • Ant wings are firmly attached, while termite wings are easily removed or shed (fall off).
  • Life Cycle and Habits

Life Cycle and Habits

Ants are social insects that live in colonies or nests usually located in the soil near the house foundation, under concrete slabs, in crawlspaces, in structural wood, in the yard or garden, in trees, and in other protected places. Ants have three castes, namely queens, males, and workers. Queens and males are the reproductive. Workers are sterile wingless females. New ant colonies are started by a single fertilized queen that lays eggs and tends her brood (larvae and pupae) that develop into worker ants. Tending of the brood is then taken over by the worker, which may shift the brood from place to place as moisture and temperature fluctuate in the nest. When workers forage for food for the queen and her young, they often may enter houses and become a nuisance by their presence and contaminate food.
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