What Types of Ants Can Be Found in Illinois?

ant colony on soil

Ants are a common sight in Illinois, and there are many different types that can be found throughout the state. Some of these ants are nuisance pests, while others play an important role in the environment. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the 3 most common types of ants found in Illinois and how to get rid of them so they don't disturb your peace and well-being.

What Are The Most Common Ants In Illinois?

Ants are one of the more common insects that can be found in Illinois. With the hot summers and cold winters, you can expect to see a barrage of ants as soon as the warmer months enter whether they are outside your home or trying to get in. The 3 most common types of ants you can encounter are:

  • Pavement Ants 
  • Odorous House Ants 
  • Carpenter Ants

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are arguably the most common species you'll come across in Illinois. These small, black, or brown ants get their name from their tendency to build their nests in cracks and crevices on the pavement. Pavement ants are also drawn to areas with a lot of foot traffic because they are looking for food that has been dropped by humans as they are active foragers. While popular during the day, pavement ants are actually the most active during the nighttime as they leave to scavenge for foods such as sweets, seeds, greasy foods, other dead insects, and pet food.

How To Get Rid Of Pavement Ants

These ants are not known to be harmful to humans but can be a nuisance if they invade your home. Pavement ants typically nest outdoors but will move indoors if they find food inside your home. To prevent them from coming inside, seal up any cracks or crevices around your foundation and windows and doors with caulk. The number one way to avoid this species of ant activity is to remove any potential sources of food by keeping food in sealed containers and sweeping up crumbs regularly. If pavement ants have already made their way into your home, the best way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up and then dispose of the bag immediately. You can also try using an insecticide designed specifically for ants, but be sure to follow the directions carefully as these products can be harmful to humans and pets.

Odorous House Ants

The odorous house ant is a species of ant that is commonly found throughout almost all of the United States. These ants are small, ranging in size from about one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long. They are brown or black in color and have a distinctive odor that has been described as smelling like coconut. Odorous house ants typically nest outdoors in soil, under rocks, or in other protected areas. However, they will also nest indoors if they can find a suitable location. These ants often enter homes through cracks or crevices in the foundation or around windows and doors. Once inside, they will build their nests in wall voids, beneath floors, or anywhere near your kitchen as they can stay close to a reliable food source. While they usually do not sting or bite, they have the ability to contaminate your food products with the bacteria they carry. 

How To Get Rid of Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are a nuisance and can be difficult to get rid of. However, there are a few things you can do to get rid of them for good. One way to get rid of odorous house ants is to use baits. There are many types of commercially available baits that contain ingredients that will attract these ants (sugar and protein-based.) Once the ant eats the bait, it will take it back to the nest where it will share it with the other ants. This will eventually kill off the entire colony. Insecticides will most likely not work as they can split up their colonies and relocate very easily. Ways you can get rid of this insect without any bait can include trimming back vegetation around your home and keeping your kitchen tidy.

Carpenter Ants

 Carpenter ants get their name from their habit of carving out chambers in wood to build their nests. These ants are black or red and measure about ¼-inch long. Carpenter ants are not known to bite humans, but they can cause the most damage to your home out of any ant if left unchecked. As their name suggests, carpenter ants can burrow through all of your wood, similar to the termite, and make their nests in these areas. Where they differ from the termite is not actually eating the wood. Common signs of carpenter ant activity can include seeing small sawdust shavings around your home indicating that something has tunneled through your walls. These ants are generally not dangerous to humans with biting or stinging. The main concern however is the internal structure of your home. If you have a carpenter ant infestation, it's best to take action as quickly as possible as their colonies can grow exponentially.

How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Often overlooked, most ant infestations can be taken care of without doing serious damage to your home. The carpenter ant is not one of those species. Start by eliminating any water source as they will depend on this to survive. This can involve any standing water, usually around your kitchen or bathroom. Make sure to keep vegetation cut back as they can use this as leverage to enter your home. Keep any firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your home so they do not have easy access to enter inside your house. As for securing your home from any species of ant, make sure to seal any openings in and around your home. 

Professional Ant Control

If you have tried all of the methods listed and are still struggling to get rid of these critters, look to a professional pest control company like Bel-O Pest Solutions. Bel-O offers services in Western Illinois and Eastern Missouri and our technicians offer expert ant control for any infestation in your home. Our services are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can be sure to trust us to exterminate any species of ant you are dealing with. 

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