Types of Ants in Northern Virginia and Maryland
Last updated: 2/24/2021
Estimated read time: 3.5 minutes
Because of their small size, ants can be easy to overlook. However, there are a surprising number of different types of ants in Northern Virginia and Maryland, each with its own unique appearances and behaviors. If you’re seeing ants in your home or on your lawn, you might be curious to know what species you’re dealing with—and whether or not they present a problem for your home or safety! Below, we’ve compiled a list of common ants in Northern Virginia and Maryland to help you identify what species of ant might be trekking across your kitchen counter.
Acrobat ants are approximately 3-5 mm in length and range from brown to black in color. They are named for their tendency to lift their heart-shaped abdomens in the air when startled. While they do possess stingers and can bite, they are typically harmless to people and pets. They are often drawn to moisture and decaying wood, meaning proper home maintenance is the best way to avoid drawing acrobat ants into your home.
Argentine ants are considered an invasive species, originating in South America and having traveled to the United States in the 19th century. These small ants are often less than 3 mm long and are dark brown or black in color and hairless. They move in trails of ants marching together, making their presence easy to spot. They are notorious for their rapid rate of reproduction, with colonies often having more than one queen actively laying eggs. Like most ants, they are drawn to moisture and food remnants.
A larger species of ant found in Northern Virginia and Maryland, carpenter ants can be as large as ⅝ of an inch long and are generally red or black in color, and have large mandibles. These ants get their name for their ability to tunnel through wood, leaving small pinprick holes and sawdust in their wake. They are often drawn to damp or damaged wood, and while they are not dangerous to people, they can cause massive issues for the structural integrity and appearance of your home.
Little Black Ants
Less than 2 mm in size and dark or black in color, little black ants live up to their name. They often swarm in the summer and are drawn into homes in search of food and moisture. More annoying than dangerous, these insects are too small to sting humans. They may nest in walls, woodpiles, beneath rocks, and anywhere else dark and hidden away.
Odorous House Ants
When you think of ants, you likely don’t think of the smell of coconuts, but that’s just the odor associated with odorous house ants when they are crushed. Odorous house ants are black or brown, hairless, and known for having asymmetrical thorax shapes. With colonies able to grow as large as 100,000 members, they can be overwhelming to deal with if left untreated. While their bites are relatively painless, they can still contaminate food and spread bacteria, making them unpleasant to have in your home.
Pavement ants earned their name because of their tendency to nest beneath sidewalks, driveways, and other concrete structures. While unlikely to attack unless threatened, they are capable of stinging. However, at 3 mm, they are not a particularly large or harmful ant. One of their most visible identifying features is the stripes that mark the length of their body. To prevent a pavement ant infestation, reduce moisture and crumbs in your home.
Can Ants Damage My Lawn?
Many of these ants live in the soil on your property or make their nests in decaying wood sources. It’s natural to see them outside in your lawn, and they perform an important duty—feeding on insects that attack lawns and gardens, as well as pollinating flowers and distributing seeds as they gather food for their colony.
But it can be problematic when they travel into your home, and it can be exceptionally difficult to get rid of them! If you need professional ant control in Northern Virginia or Maryland, our team at BOG Pest Control is here to help. Give us a call if you’re interested in how our ant control in Northern Virginia and Maryland can help protect your home!