There are three main types of Ants that you’ll typically come across in Ontario, the Pharaoh Ant, the Pavement Ant and finally the Carpenter Ant.
The most common household ant in Southern Ontario is the Carpenter Ant. Carpenter Ants burrow into wood and can infest pretty much any part of your home, such as walls, attics, ceilings, sub floors, under shingles, beams, and floors. They are rather large ants, and are either all black, or black with a reddish mid-section. A mature nest can house 3000 ants and occupy and area that stretches from floor to ceiling and runs seven feet wide. Similar to the Carpenter Bee, Carpenter Ants do not eat wood, rather they chew and burrow through it. The food in your home is not actually attractive to them. Instead they’d venture out approximately 300 feet from their nest and bring back small insects and plant saps home. These ants are nocturnal, and mostly crawl about your home at night while you are sleeping. Carpenter ants typically won’t bite unless they are provoked. They have been known to get tangled up in clothing, and bite when they panic. Be careful not to kill them before they let go first as (similar to a tick) it’s difficult to properly remove them from the skin if the head is still pinching you.
Carpenter ant colonies have one queen who may live as long as 25 years, in which she only needs to be fertilized once in her lifetime. Her colony takes about 3 years to reach maturity, at which there will be several thousand ants living among the nest. When the colony does reach maturity, hundreds of ants grow wings and fly to new sites to establish new colonies.
How do ants get in my home?
Carpenter ants will get inside your home in a number of ways. Anything that touches your home, like hydro lines, fences and tree limbs will allow them to get in. They can even march across your lawn and enter through the side of the house. Another way in is through firewood. Carpenter ants become dormant in the winter, however, if infested wood is brought in, the wood will warm up, waking the ants up.
Try to keep your property clear of dead and rotting wood which these ants love to burrow in. This includes stumps, dead limbs, rotting decks, fences and firewood. Another way ants get in is through flagstone that touches the home. Often flagstone is placed on sand, which Carpenter ants love to burrow in. These ants also love moist wood as it’s easier to chew through, so stay on top of leaks, around tubs, showers, pipes, dishwashers and windows. Although carpenter ants will damage wood (such as a window sill, or a beam) it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever cause major structural damage. Carpenter ants chew through wood to burrow, as the wood is meant to protect them from predators. You’ll typically only spot them in the house during summer and late spring when it warms up before they go dormant again during the Canadian winter.
Pharaoh Ants are tiny almost pin head sized ants that are reddish in colour. They typically avoid sweet foods, however they will eat meats and grease, so it’s important to always wipe off the counter top if you have been cooking. If some kid drops some fast food on the sidewalk, you might find thousands of Pharaoh ants eating away at it during the summer time. You’ll also want tight sealing on all food containers, particularly cereals. These ants will also invade pet food, so if you notice an ant problem, perhaps work on a better feeding arrangement for your cat or dog so their food isn’t always sitting out.
Another thing you need to know about Pharaoh Ants is that they are attracted to water sources. To deter them, don’t keep glasses of water sitting around the house, and keep your electric tea kettle empty when not in use. Also clean up any water spills on the counter, and keep your bathroom as dry as possible. I once worked in a kitchen that had a pharaoh ant infestation and as a prank someone had poked a pin hole in a water bottle of mine (the joke is that the water will squirt out on your clothes as you drink from the bottle). I had left the bottle out overnight when I came in for my next shift, it had filled up with dozens of dead drowned ants. I’ve even seen Pharaoh ants caught in the folds of refrigerator insulation where moisture collects. Keep an eye on a toddler’s baby bottle as these ants can easily crawl into it.
These ants are tiny and are hard to get at as they burrow behind baseboards and counter tops. Anypest has the right knowledge and tools to completely eliminate Pharaoh ants.
Pavement Ants are another common ant in Ontario. These ants are larger than Carpenter ants, and aren’t easily spooked if you come near them. Typically they stick to the outdoors where they like to live under patio stones and rocks. They like to eat all types of food, and will enter houses to get to grease, sweets, and meats. Pavement ants don’t cause structural damage as they won’t chew through wood, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less of a pest.
Other Ants in Ontario
A few types of other ants you may come across in Ontario are acrobat ants, field ants and thief ants. These types typically do not infest houses, but if they do, feel free to call Anypest and we can exterminate them for you.
Anypest Ant Control & Removal Services
Anypest has the the talent and the know how to rid your home or business of pesky ants and other critters. We are located in Hamilton Ontario, but drive just about anywhere in Southern Ontario to service your animal control and pest extermination needs.