Integrated Pest Management for Ants

Imported Fire Ants, Pest Management In and Around Structures August 03, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

 Photograph is used with permission.  Charles Ray, Auburn University

Are you having ant problems? We have placed all of our resources concerning ants, their biology, and how to kill or make them go away using integrated pest management (IPM) in the list below.  

Ants are nuisance pests around buildings because they feed on and contaminate human foods, infest structures by nesting in wall voids and/or underneath kitchen sinks and other places, and build unsightly mounds in lawns and other landscapes. In some cases, ants are able to inflict painful bites or can have venomous stings. Ants do not attack or eat fabrics, leather or wood in homes or buildings. However, some species can establish nests in decaying wood, including wood in human structures.

Ants can be recognized from other insects because they have a narrow waist with one or two joints (nodes) between the thorax and abdomen. When identifying ant species, the first characteristic to look at is whether the ant has one or two nodes. Also, ants have elbowed antennae. The antenna is the second most important structure in ant identification. The antenna is divided into segments starting with a long and thin segment called the scape, which is the first segment counted from the head of the ant. In some imported pest ant species, the antenna ends in a club that is formed when the last two or three segments of the antenna are significantly enlarged.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.