Ants may be annoying, but unlike fire ants found in the South, Ohio’s ants are not known for their bites. It is their presence in our homes and other buildings that bothers us. Perhaps the result of evolution, ants can detect the pesticide humans spray on their patios and floors. They avoid those areas until it is safe, so prevention is not an easy task. The only sure way to exterminate a colony is to treat the nest itself.
Ants have a wide range of sizes. The smallest ants you might find in or around your home are merely 1/32 of an inch long, while the largest are three fourths of an inch. Colors vary as well. They can be yellow, light brown, reddish-brown, brownish-black, or black. Don’t confuse the winged ants you may see with winged termites. One difference is that ants have constricted waists while termites do not. An ant’s antennae are crooked as opposed to a termite’s which are straight. An ant’s forewings are larger than it’s hindwings; a termite’s wings are all the same size.
Ant colonies build their nests in the soil near the foundation of a house or building. The colony is divided into three castes: the queen, the males, and the workers. The queen and the males are the reproductives while the female workers are sterile. When workers enter one’s home they are usually foraging for food to bring back to the queen.
As was previously mentioned, the only way to control ants is to find the nest and destroy it. In order to locate the nest, place a spoonful of jelly or sugar near where the ants were last seen. A line of ants will form leading back to their nest.