The top ten ants of Florida

The top ten ants of Florida. Today we're going to count down the top ten species of ants in our range of central Florida from the least problematic to the worst (from a pest control point of view). That's simple enough so let's get started, shall we?

top ten ants of Florida
top ten ants of Florida

10. Coming in at number ten would have to be the pyramid ant. They stay strictly outdoors and I've yet to see these guys come on the inside of a home yet. They are a domestic ant, non-invasive so the biggest problems these guys will cause will be some unsightly pyramid shape sand nests which are easily treatable.

9. Number nine would be another domestic ant, the Florida Carpenter ant. Occasionally, these guys will come indoors and great satellite nests in wall voids, attics and even in some unusual places. I found one satellite nest in a boombox once and another time in the light fixture over a stove. Carpenter ants can also be a sign of termite activity since they'll readily feed on them. Just remember, the Florida Carpenter ant doesn't hurt healthy trees, they look for weak spots to exploit. Once they start, they can certainly speed up the process of a dying tree, sometimes making them dangerous if they're too close to the house. Make sure to inspect all trees around your home at least a couple times a year. One tell-tale sign would be fine sawdust at or around the base of the tree.

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8. The acrobat ant comes in at number eight. I'd say the worst thing about this particular pest is misidentification with the rover ant. Otherwise, they can be treated as carpenter ants in most situations. This is often the first ant I come across in the spring provided we had a cold enough winter for ants to go dormant for some time. The last couple of seasons at the time of this writing have been unusually warm. Some are calling it climate change while other call it temperature pattern anomalies. Remember some years back those two winters that were so cold they saw ice in the everglades and most of the Burmese pythons died off due to acute respiratory infections?

7. Next up on our top ten ants of Florida would be the Caribbean crazy ant. They're pretty easy to identify do to their extra long antenna and extremely fast erratic movements. They're an invasive pest (meaning they don't originate from Florida naturally) and I would say the most notable habit about these guys are their ability to create such a multitude of nests in a given area. I once witnessed them in such great numbers the network of nests nearly completely surrounded a manufactured home. That place seriously needed some control of the situation as it had clearly gotten out of hand to say the least. Easily part of our top ten ants of Florida.

6. The red imported fire ant can leave a nasty sting. They also make huge, unsightly mounds for nesting site, have multiple queens, and occasionally invade the inside of homes. Why is this incredibly nasty, invasive pest only coming in at number six instead of one? It's because their control isn't as complicated as the ants that will follow.  You have to be diligent with them but they're not the most intelligent or cunning ant species we deal with. The do, however, leave the nastiest stings and bites of all our ant species and if you get nailed by enough of them at one time they can leave scars. Number six, be very weary of them nonetheless.


5. Now things start to get a little more tricky. The pharaoh ant can be a difficult ant to control, especially when confused with another species. It's a tropical, invasive species of ant. We don't get as many calls for this one as others but when we do, it can be a battle. The problem with these guys is if you spray them with a repellent, they're going to bud (spread) throughout the house making things much worse. There infestations can be pretty impressive after someone sprays them with a repellent for a couple weeks. I've seen houses with them spread from one end of the structure to the other. This is why you should not spray ants with store bought products, especially when you're not sure of the species.

4. The reason why the big-headed ant came in at number four is because from what I've been seeing the last couple of years. They are spreading at an alarming rate. Even more so than the red imported fire ant. Big headed ants are often confused with red imported fire ants, Florida carpenter ants, acrobat ants and others. This is because they, in some cases, have similar colors or similar bodies to the other ants but with one big difference that truly distinguishes them from other ant species; its big head. To add to the confusion, not all big-headed ants have big heads. You see, the major worker, or “soldier” has a big head. The minor workers have a normal sized heads and they far outnumber the big-headed soldiers.

Bigheaded Ant

3. Number three is the rover ant, and they're not named after the Led Zeppelin song. Small, black ants that can sometimes be a pain in the neck. They are another that bud very easily. Often misidentified, invasive pest ant species. Rover ants are still somewhat newcomers to our are of Central Florida. As small as the rover ants are, the female winged reproductive rover ants are quite large in contrast to the males and worker being three times the size. When these ants are encountered during swarming season, they are often mistaken for another ant due to the vast size difference.

2. Number two? The ghost ant, boo! Many people call these "sugar ants". They do like their sweets. Ghost ant infestations usually occur around December because they're looking to get in out of the cold. They are another tropical invasive species that will bud very. very easily. If you have an infestation of ghost ants it is very important that you call us right away. They need to be positively identified and treated accordingly. You should not use common household insecticides as this will only spread out the ants making the problem worse. You should also save any bodies that you may have in case the trail dissolves by the time our technicians can get out to you. Trails can disappear and reappear sporadically within a very short period of time.

1. Finally, coming in at number one is the dreaded Argentine ant. An introduced pest from South America, the reason why they come in at number one is there sheer numbers due to what are called "mega-colonies". This hardy ant adapts well to their new environment and can be a pugnacious foe to home owners. I've seen them mostly in Lady Lake and the village area. They'll often nest around a palm tree not far from the foundation. From there, they will attempt to enter the home looking for food and moisture (especially if we're in a drought).

So there you have it, Meryl's Termite and Pest Control's top ten ants in our range of central Florida. Some other honorable mentions that didn't make the list are pavement ants and the odorous house ant among some others. Remember that Meryl's Termite and Pest Control's treats ALL ant species that occur in our range of central Florida, both domestic and invasive so don't hesitate to contact us for all your ant control needs. We have dealt with them all; our top ten ants of Florida!

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Top Ten Ants of Florida

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