Common Florida Ants and Getting Rid of Them
In the Sunshine State, ants come in all shapes and sizes. Many kinds of ants have nicknames that reflect where they are found; however, there is often confusion about which species live where. Here we discuss some common Florida ants.
Tiny Ants/Sugar Ants
In kitchens across the state, these common Florida ants can be found crawling along shelves and countertops. These sugar ants are attracted to carbs like sugar and flour; they’re not dangerous but their presence is an annoyance since they’ll eat any food in your pantry or cabinets.
If you don’t keep the door of your dishwasher closed tightly, sugar ants may be able to get inside. If you want to learn how to get rid of sugar ants in your kitchen (and other places around the house), see our section on ant control.
Fire Ants/Red Ants
The red ants that you see in your yard or garden are fire ants. Fire ants are one of the many Florida pests that bite, causing itchy welts and painful marks even if you aren’t allergic to them. Red ant stings can cause multiple reactions, including swelling and intense pain whether they feel threatened or not!
Carpenter Ants/Bull Ants
Bull ants look like regular carpenter ants, but they’re named for their habit of attacking any animal that comes near a nest site. They are aggressive and the bites of these red or black insects can be painful, so stay away from areas where you see evidence that bull ants live!
Ghost ants have dark heads and translucent bodies, as well as small size. They are very fast and typically avoid contact with humans but will attack any sweets left unsealed. Their sharp teeth allow them to penetrate food packaging easily. These ghost ants can bite, but will only do so if they feel threatened.
Pharaoh ants are one of the hardest types of ants to eliminate from a home. They can survive most conventional household or do-it-yourself pest treatments, and often require the attention of a professional exterminator if you have an infestation.
Pharaoh ants are attracted to sweets, fatty foods and oils. They can be yellowish or red in color. Their bites may be painful, but they aren’t poisonous like the ghost ant’s sting. Like ghost ants, Pharaohs only bite if threatened.
Bigheaded ants are an invasive species in the United States, found mainly in warm and humid climates. These heart-shaped insects have spread throughout Florida due to their love of citrus fruit combined with our abundant supply of pet waste down here!
Although bigheaded ants do not normally bite, their colonies can be a nuisance for homeowners and may cause confusion with termite activity. These ants will build mud tubes outside of homes that can look identical to those constructed by termites—making it difficult to get rid them.
How to Get Rid of Common Florida Ants
- Cornmeal – If you sprinkle cornmeal where you see ants, or near the colony’s entrance if you know where it is, tiny ants will be attracted to eat this. However, their bodies cannot digest it and any ant which eats cornmeal dies, so wherever they are inside or outside of your house, ants will retreat once exposed to this toxic substance!
- Vacuum – Vacuum or dust ants as soon as you see them, then sprinkle some talcum powder and vacuum up the area to ensure they will die inside your vacuum instead of just giving them a new home.
- Borax – To make your own ant bait, take 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 2 tablespoons borax. Mix the two together until well combined, spread it on pieces of cardboard and place them where you see ants. Most types of ants in Florida will carry this back to their nests, and once eaten by other members of the colony it is toxic enough that all will die from exposure.
- Dish soap – Mixing dish soap, water, and some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle will kill ants quickly.
- Boiling water – If you know where the ant colony lives, or if you’re able to follow them back to their nest, pour boiling water down into the hole. This should wipe out the colony. Be careful not scald yourself by spilling it on yourself and try not to step in any agitated ants as they flee from their destroyed home.
And, if you want to get rid of these common Florida ants, look no further than Total Pest Solutions!