Just about everyone in the South can identify a fire ant without any sort of field guide—the bright red, six-legged pests are a common sight during the summer. Ask a local, and chances are they’re all-too-familiar with the fire ant’s sting. And anyone with a lawn can vouch for their infamous resilience and difficulty to eradicate.

But South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia are home to more than just the ubiquitous fire ant. Our diverse ecosystem is host to other equally troublesome varieties of ant as well, including the wood-boring carpenter ant.

Read on to learn more about this pest and other ants to watch out for!

Carpenter Ants

If it weren’t for their fiery cousins, carpenter ants would easily be the worst ant in the South. Like termites, these pests pose a threat to wood structures. Unlike termites, however, these ants aren’t feeding on wood—they’re creating a nest. Carpenter ants carve out a network of tunnels into wood or wooden structures, which can seriously jeopardize the integrity of your home. 

Because carpenter ants can nest both inside and outside the home, homeowners need to be especially vigilant for signs of colonies. These large black ants move from nest to nest in their perpetual search for food and can become entrenched in a residence quicker than you might think.

Carpenter ants prefer moist wood or wood that is frequently damp. Common incursion points include the floor beneath bathtubs and the walls surrounding dishwashers. Be on the lookout for piles of frass, the sawdust-like substance that accumulates as the carpenter ant chews into the wood.

Small Black Ants

Even seasoned professionals with decades of experience can have trouble identifying smaller black ants at a glance. For the most part, the smaller ants are more of a nuisance than a hazard. They’re too small to sting humans and don’t cause any structural damage on their own. 

Pharaoh ants, however, are dangerous for an entirely different reason: these super-tiny, light brown ants have the potential to carry infectious bacteria and diseases and have been responsible for outbreaks of sickness in the past. They are also explosive colonizers, needing as short as six months to completely fill an office building with colonies.

Regardless of the variety, the best way to prevent ants is to take a proactive approach. Keeping food put away, dishes out of the sink, and crumbs swept up are all excellent ways to avoid attracting any type of home invaders.  It also pays to keep a tidy yard, especially around the house.

The Ant-swers to All your Questi-ants

Unfortunately, short of living beneath a glass dome, there’s no way to guarantee ants won’t show up in your yard at some point. When the ants come marching one by one—or even two by two!—what’s a person to do? Why, you call the pest pros at Terminix, of course! 

Treatment by professionals is essential. Household pest sprays aren’t always effective, and run the risk of scattering ants, resulting in more pests as the survivors establish new nests.

Whether you’re flustered by fire ants or confounded by carpenters, there’s a solution available close by. Your neighbors at the local Terminix are ready and eager to answer all your ant inquiries and help you find the best solution for your yard or home!

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