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Common Types of Ants in Missouri
Ants are common throughout the world in many different ecosystems. More than 450 species of ants live in North America. They are also one of the most common pests in human environments and dwellings. In human environments, they build nests in soil, open lawns, under concrete slabs, stones or boards, adjacent to foundation walls, in the walls of houses, in decaying wood, or in cavity spaces associated with debris. Some nests are relatively permanent while others last for a short period of time. Less than 50 species have been known to invade homes across the United States, and only about 10 of these commonly enter homes in Missouri.
Ants are social insects. Three main castes cooperate to carry out the various biological roles within an ant colony. These castes include queens, workers and males. Queen ants lay eggs while workers take care of the eggs and larvae, build and defend the nest and locate food to maintain the colony. Males appear for a brief period each year and function only in mating. The social behavior of ants has enabled them to become one of the most successful and abundant groups of insects. Homeowners and pest-management professions commonly consider ants to be the most common and difficult insects to manage.
The odorous house ant is the most common home-infesting ant species in Missouri. It is 2 to 3 mm long and dark brown to black in color. Its most identifiable feature is that it gives off a fruity-coconut smell when crushed between the fingers.
Pharaoh ants are common structural pests. They are only about 1 to 2 mm long and are light tan in color. Their small size and color are their most identifiable features. Pharaoh ants have large colonies with multiple queens that nest in void spaces indoors. They are common in wall voids, behind baseboards, in electrical outlets and other small void spaces.
Acrobat ants are occasional structural pests. This group of ants varies in color from light brown to reddish brown to black and ranges in size from 2-1/2 to 3 mm long. Their most identifiable feature is a heart-shaped abdomen that comes to a point at the tip. The ants commonly infest door and window frames previously damaged by moisture. They also like to infest foam panel insulation.
The pavement ant is a dark brown to black ant with light antennae and legs that range from 2-1/2 to 3 mm in length. Their most identifiable feature is the parallel furrows and ridges on the head and thorax. They nest in soil in the open or under stones and pavement. Their name comes from the habit of nesting beside and under sidewalks, driveways and foundations.
Getting Rid of Ants
Although many homeowners struggle with do it yourself ant control remedies the results are often less than satisfactory. Small problems can develop into large ones and this is when many people seek out the services of a pest control professional to prevent future infestations.
Once they’ve identified your ants, they can use a range of powerful insecticides to deal with them efficiently. This gives you the reassurance that the problem has been fully dealt with.
Treatments are targeted to your specific ant species in order to solve the problem quickly, while ensuring the safety of your family and pets.
Once the ants have been dealt with, you can take precautions to stop them coming back. One particularly important precaution is covering any food in storage areas - you don’t know where ants have been walking before they march across your food. Ants are known to infest specific areas of homes such as kitchens, bathrooms and gardens.