Massachusetts is home to approximately 100 species of ants.  Most ants common to Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts are harmless, while one in particular can cause damage to your home and other structures.  The three most common types of ants in and around your home include Carpenter Ants, Odorous House Ants and Pavement Ants.


Carpenter Ants are typically black in color, some exhibit black and red variations.  Carpenter Ants are one of the largest species in the county, with adults growing to ½” long.  Carpenter Ants reside outdoors or in your home, preferring moist wood to establish their colonies.  Rotting stumps or logs and damp wood inside a wood framed structure provide the perfect nesting site for Carpenter Ants.  Carpenter Ants are likely to be found in areas with excessive moisture and potential food sources (insects, sweets and fats).  It is not uncommon to find evidence of Carpenter Ants in your bathroom or kitchen.  Carpenter Ant activity can also be identified by the presence of saw dust debris as they do not eat wood, but tunnel through it to build their galleries.   Carpenter Ants can develop multiple sites in and around your property including parent colonies (with queen and workers) and satellite colonies.  Reproductive swarmers (flying ants) may be seen from spring to early summer.


Odorous House Ants are black or dark brown in color and get their name from their unpleasant odor when crushed (smell of rotten coconut).  Smaller than a Carpenter ant, adult Odorous House Ants are typically 1/8” in size but can grow a bit larger.  Odorous House Ants are a nuisance pest, are not known to damage wood and will forage day and night.  Odorous House Ants create nests near a viable food and water supply, are attracted to sweets if available but will consume other foods including insects, honeydew, fats and decomposing animals.  Odorous House Ants have a high rate of reproduction, regularly moving their nests or splitting off into new colonies. Reproductive swarmers (flying ants) may be seen from spring to early summer.


Pavement Ants are black or dark brown in color and get their name from where they are commonly found: cracks in driveways and sidewalks. Pavement Ants are fairly small with adults growing to approximately 1/8” in length.  Because of their small size, Pavement Ants can easily gain access to your home through cracks or expansion joints in concrete foundations or slabs.  Like most ants native to Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts, Pavement Ants feed on sweets, fats, grease and insects.  Pavement Ants are a nuisance pest, not known to cause structural damage that nest under patios, sidewalks, driveways and in walls and under floors inside your home. Reproductive swarmers (flying ants) may be seen from spring to summer. Colonies living in heated environments may produce swarmers year round.

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