What Is An Ant?
Ants are social insects belonging to the order of insects known as “Hymenoptera”. This is the same order containing bees and wasps. Ant problems are difficult for homeowners to deal with because they live in large communities.
These ants in the house depend upon each other for the survival of the entire colony. Ant colonies tend to form underground nests comprised of chambers and interconnecting tunnels.
This is where ants store food, lay eggs and maintain nurseries. There can be tens of thousands of ants in a single colony. There can also be several colonies inhabiting the soil or landscape surrounding a property. For that reason, ants can be a particularly difficult pest to eradicate.
Why Do I Have Them?
All ants share one primary task: to protect and care for the colony. This means they need food, moisture and shelter. A colony of ants may range from a few dozen to tens of thousands.
Outside ant nests are under wood piles, flagstone or brick patios and under rocks and garden stones. Ants in the house may nest in wall voids, behind insulation, or in or around wood already damaged by moisture.
You are most likely to find ants in the kitchen or invading your property elsewhere when they are foraging for food. Foraging ants account for only a small percentage (typically 10% or less) of the colony’s size.
It is important to understand that ants will travel extremely long distances in search of food or harborage. Once these foragers locate and establish a source of food, ants will produce a scent trail (by way of pheromones). The pheromone trail leads to and from the nest and provides direction for the ants to follow between the nest and food source. This is why you will often see ants like the odorous house ant, marching back and forth along one line with little or no deviation.