What do ants look like?
Ants come in all sizes and colors. They look like a wingless wasp, but very few have stingers (with the exception of the fire ant). If you look closely at the body of an ant, you will also see one or two humps on the slim area between the last two segments. Ants have these humps, while wasps do not. Also, the antennae of ants are kinked or “elbowed.”
Meet the Ants
Nuisance ants nest indoors or outdoors. Often their colonies are built close to the home and are hidden in the soil, under objects on the ground, or in the home itself. When they come inside, you can usually spot them following an “invisible trail” towards a source of food or water. These ants can infest and contaminate your food. Learn more about nuisance ants.
Mound-building ants that you see outside may also come inside in search of food and water. These ants build mounds in lawns, mulch areas, and along sidewalks, patios, decks, and the foundation. Outdoor treatments are key for controlling mound-building ants. Learn more about mound-building ants.
Carpenter ants nest in walls, attics, and water-damaged or rotting wood. Common outdoor nests are found in sheds, firewood, decks, tree trunks, gutters, and soffits. They don’t eat wood, but they do nest and tunnel in wood, which leads to more decay. Carpenter ants may bite if you try to pick them up, but their bites are not as painful as the sting of the fire ant. Learn more about carpenter ants.
Fire ants are a special type of mound-building ant that usually nests outdoors. They bite, but they also have a stinger on their abdomen that they use to inject venom into anything that disturbs them or their nest. Their stings can be quite painful and multiple stings may require medical attention. Learn more about fire ants.