Several household ant pest species can be found in upstate New York, and there is no one pest control method that can eliminate all species. Some household ant pests only nest outdoors, while others nest both outdoors and indoors. Ants that nest outdoors may cause damage to lawns with their nest-building activities, or they may enter homes in order to seek out human food sources. The European fire ant species is a good example of this type of ant pest, and they are most abundant near water bodies in upstate New York. European fire ants are also the most dangerous ant pests in the state of New York, as stepping on one of their nesting mounds will prompt a colony to angrily emerge before swarming onto a person where they will not waste a second to inflict repeated painful stings that can cause anaphylactic shock in sensitive individuals, and this can be fatal.
Another medically significant and invasive ant species that was recently found in New York, the Asian needle ant, is known for forming massive networks of interconnected colonies known as “super colonies,” similar to red imported fire ants, which are not found in New York. While these two ant species are potentially dangerous and establish stubborn infestations, they are far from being the most common ant pests in the state. Many pest control professionals consider odorous house ants to be the most difficult ant pests to eliminate from infested homes. Odorous house ants can nest within homes and outside of homes, and their colonies are exceptionally large. These ants will consume just about any type of human food that they encounter.
Odorous house ants are difficult to eradicate because they establish numerous interconnected nests, and they are capable of squeezing through the narrowest of foundation cracks in order to enter homes, making it virtually impossible to keep these ants from venturing indoors. Also, in order to eradicate indoor ant infestations, their parent nest needs to be located and the queen needs to be killed, but odorous house ants live in colonies with multiple queens. Lastly, their indoor nests are often established in areas of a home that are extremely difficult to access. These areas include wall voids, beneath baseboards, and the ants have also been known to inhabit cavities in structural wood where termites or carpenter ants once dwelled. Odorous house ants are usually eliminated from homes with professional-grade baits, but since colonies can contain hundreds of thousands of foraging workers, it can take weeks before a home is cleared of all ant pests.
Have you smelled a foul odor after stepping on an ant?