Upstate New York is home to several ant species that often establish infestations within homes. Some of these ants are merely an indoor nuisance, while other species can bite, sting, or both, while also maintaining a nuisance presence within homes and/or yards. New York is also home to a few ant species that can establish infestations within a home’s structural wood.
Some of the most common nuisance ant species in the state include pavement ants, odorous house ants, and Allegheny mound ants. European fire ants, much like Allegheny mound ants, are typically lawn pests only, as both of these species build large unsightly mounds in residential yards. These two ant species can inflict costly damage, as many residents prefer to have damaged areas of their lawn replaced with healthy grass.
The most economically significant ants in New York are carpenter ants, several species of which invade homes in the state, but not all of these species will infest a home’s structural wood to a significant degree. In addition to all of these species, citronella ants are notable for their nuisance annual flights which often occur within homes and buildings during the fall. During 2017, swarming citronella ants occurred frequently within homes located in Rochester.
Most ant species that establish indoor nuisance infestations within Upstate New York homes do not pose a medical threat to residents. However, the invasive European fire ant may invade homes where the insects could inflict potentially dangerous bites to humans, but such incidents are rare. That being said, it is not rare for residents to sustain European fire ant stings on their bare feet while walking within their infested yards. Pavement ants possess a venomous stinger, as well as mouthparts that can inflict bites on human skin, but humans rarely sustain bites from this species.
The most economically significant carpenter ant species in New York state is the black carpenter ant, but other species, such as C. Castaneus and C. nearcticus, also invade homes in the state. These latter two species often cause minor damage to structural wood sources that have undergone significant decay. The red carpenter ant is abundant in New York, but this species rarely invades homes in the state.
Have you ever sustained an ant sting within your home?