Photo by: William Cho

Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 species are classified and the upper estimates of species is about 22,000. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist. Some common Florida ants include:

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants usually nest outdoors in stumps and logs in contact with the soil and in dead tree limbs and cavities or in homes in wood damaged by termites, fungi and moisture. They don’t actually eat wood – though the galleries they excavate can be quite extensive.

Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants are usually a reddish brown color. ¬†Fire ants live in colonies of up to 200,000 individuals with mounds that can be two feet high and three feet across with as many as 50 colonies per acre. It’s painful, burning sting results in pustules that take up to 10 days to heal. Some people are extremely allergic to the sting, needing fast medical attention to deal with the toxin.

The Fire Ant Mound

It usually takes ants years just to get firmly established. But once that’s accomplished, some colonies can survive for as long as 30 or 40 years. Sometimes the original queen will be replaced many times over. There are measures you can take to minimize the likelihood of an ant invasion in the kitchen, wiping up spills and putting food away immediately in sealed containers helps. Keeping your home dry and well ventilated will discourage dreaded Carpenter Ants from entering. When ants do get in, insecticides applied along baseboards or around foundations can provide some temporary relief. But ants seldom carry enough insecticide back to the nest to kill the queen — so the nest must be located and the colony destroyed. Our experienced professionals know where to look and how to fight with the best products available on the market.