Ants are one of the most common insects in the US and in Virginia too. Most people only think of the fire ant when you mention ants. And rightly so. Their bite hurts for a long while, and then the itch sets in. It can be quite maddening. So, knowing what types of ants are in Virginia will help you identify the ants and know which ones could be dangerous.
Could it hurt your children or pets? Might it damage your home? Are they harmless and to be left alone? With so many questions, it is a good idea to learn more about the ants of Virginia. That is why James River Pest Solutions has put together this article on the ants in Virginia
Types of Ants in Virginia
Do you have ants in the yard? Or perhaps they are coming into the house. If so, knowing the types of ants will help you determine the severity of the situation. Unfortunately, there are approximately 250 types of ants in Virginia. So for our purposes here, we will concentrate on a few.
The most commonly seen ants of Virginia are as follows:
- Fire Ants
- Rover Ants
- Crazy Ants
- Carpenter Ants
- Acrobat Ants
- Pharaoh Ants
- Odorous House Ants
- Leaf Cutter Ants
Now let’s go into detail about these pests and how you can get rid of their colonies before they become full-blown infestations.
Fire ants are the ones that really hurt. Their bite feels like fire as it burns and turns to itch. They are red, as their name suggests. The tricky part is their mounds are underground and leave not identifying holes. Therefore, they are easy to stumble upon and get bitten.
With large eyes and light-colored bodies, these little guys are attracted to sweet substances in the home. They will nest in the ground but are more than happy to come in for free food and your walls.
Crazy ants are hairy little buggers with a fast and erratic running pattern. They mostly live in the humid parts of the state and are a problem in potted plants and walls. Also, they are known to damage the wiring of TVs, lights, and other electronic devices.
Strangely, these ants do not eat wood. They only tunnel through it to make their colonies. These ants can be black or reddish-orange, and brown. They are nocturnal and tend to follow lines like the wall, the garden hose, or a branch. They make their homes in hollowed-out logs, doors, boxes, walls, and ceilings. And, they do bite, although not as readily as the fire ant.
This variety has two pedicles and two spines on the thorax. They nest in trees but will get into walls and insulation. And they are active in the day.
These are yellowish ants with a black-tipped gaster, and they like to live indoors. And they want to eat your food supply.
Odorous House Ants
You can find these guys naturally under rocks and stones. They like the bricks and wall voids of homes for nesting. And when squished, they smell kind of like licorice.
Leaf Cutter Ants
Leaf cutters live in the soil but can be easily identified by their leaf-cutting activities. They are fascinating to watch as they gather supplies to take into the nest and grow the fungus they love. The good news is they do not often enter homes.
Identifying Ants in Virginia
Trying to identify which ants you have in your home or lawn is difficult unless you know what you are looking for. When attempting to narrow it down, there are some things you will want to take note of.
- Look at the ants in the gathering you see. Are they all identical in size, or are some larger and some smaller?
- See if you can trace the ants to their nest. Take note of the look of the mound, if there is one, and where it is located.
- When are they active? Some ants are active in the day and others at night.
- Then, if you can examine them up close, you can observe the body sections. They have a gaster, thorax, and head, with a pedicel or two between the abdomen and gaster. But each is a little different.
- Then there is their behavior. Do they run in a zig-zag pattern or follow a straight line? Additionally, what are they carrying, if anything?
Are Ants in Virginia Dangerous?
The simple answer to the question is some are, and some aren’t. But either way, they do not need to be crawling in your home. The sting or bite from certain ants is annoying, but a swarm that attacks can be harmful to health. And if someone in the house is allergic to ant bites, there is a significant risk.
Then there are those ants that can damage appliances, wiring, wood, and the like. Therefore, ants need to be kept off of the home and in the wild where they belong.
Preventing Ants in Virginia
As with most pests, getting rid of the attraction will cause the ants to move on. So, if you know what might be bringing them in, eliminating that might work. However, many times the attracter is undetectable. In those cases, it is best to call your local pest control company to get them out before they do more damage.
Ants Outside the Home:
Ants live outdoors, so this can be an impossible endeavor. However, the goal is to keep them away from home and from creating massive mounds. That part of the goal is attainable.
- Ensure all gutters are free of build-up and debris and point away from the home’s foundation. Moisture is one of the biggest attractions.
- Likewise, fix leaky spigots and fixtures.
- Clear rubble, debris, and overgrowth from the lawn. And if there are fallen trees or rotting leaves, be sure to rake them up to keep the ants from having a feast.
- Cut bushes and trees away from home so they do not touch.
- Don’t bring potted plants in for the colder months unless you have inspected the soil for ant activity.
- Make sure your trash cans have lids that seal if you can.
- Seal up the cracks of the home in case they would try to enter.
Ants Inside the Home:
Ants do not belong in the home, obviously. So, keeping them out is essential for the protection of your family and home.
- Store food in the pantry in sealed containers.
- Empty trash cans regularly.
- Clean up spills and crumbs as soon as they happen.
- Clean up behind appliances occasionally.
- Identify and replace wood damage.
- Fix leaks in faucets and pipes as soon as they are spotted.
- Make sure weather stripping is sufficient on the doors and windows. Then ensure screens are in place for windows you want to open.
Getting Rid of the Ants in Virginia
Keeping ants out of the home in the first place is the best idea for your home and family. Your local pes solutions expert can assist with insect exclusion and elimination. However, if they do happen to invade the house, a professional should be called out right away. Baits and poisons can be toxic and often just temporary solutions, causing the ants to divert their path.
James River Pest Solutions has the answer for pest control in your home. Ants are eradicated with our years of experience and quality products. You can trust your home to our pest control solutions.
If you happen to notice ants in a particular area of the home, call your local pest solutions company immediately before it gets any worse.
Contact James River Pest Solutions for all your ant and pest control needs in Virginia.