Black ants can suddenly appear in your house out of nowhere. One of the first things you're probably thinking when you see them is whether they are causing damage to the foundation of your home. We compiled our research from pest control experts, and here's their take on the matter.
Black ants are not dangerous. However, they can be a nuisance to homeowners. They can chew through wood and damage the house's structural framework. They will dig through dirt, insulation, and other home materials to build their nest. Depending on the species, some ants can do as much damage as termites.
Do you want to know more about what type of black ant is invading your home? Read on, and we'll discuss the different types of black ants, why they suddenly appear in your home, and how you can safely get rid of them.
Are Dark Ants Harmful?
Dark ants are generally not harmful and dangerous to humans. They are not as aggressive as red ants, and their bites are not as painful. Their stingers are too small even to cause significant pain. Unfortunately, as much as they pose no harm, their activities can threaten your home's structural framework.
To handle them properly, you need to identify what kind of dark ants are inside your house. There are two types of black ants that frequent homes in the U.S.: carpenter ants and common little black ants.
Little Black Ants
Little black ants are dark brown to jet-black in color, have six legs, and are about 0.15 to 0.2 centimeters long. They are found in most parts of the U.S. and are particularly common in California.
This species is usually more prominent around June to August because this is the time they forage for food before the rain or winter comes. They feed on almost anything, including food scraps, plant secretions, and other insects.
When little black ants build colonies, the numbers are usually huge because there can be several queens in a colony. When you see a few in your home, expect that there are a lot more hidden within crevices.
Can Little Black Ants Damage Your Home?
Little black ants build their nest in logs, in between cracks of bricks, and on lumber. Indoors they can be found in wall cracks, decaying wooden structures, and behind facades. And yes, they can damage your home's structures.
Little black ants are mostly seen crawling out in between cement cracks. They often dig through soil and sand, possibly creating holes under your homes and shifting the compact soil. This is not good because moisture can seep in and it loosens the soil around the foundation.
Carpenter ants have an oval-shaped body and measure about 0.6 to 1.2 centimeters long. The queen and workers usually have wings but eventually, lose them after reproduction. They can be found throughout the United States but more commonly in the Northern parts.
They typically build their nest outdoors on decaying wooden tree stumps and branches. They love damp wood because it's easier to burrow and create tunnels.
They usually forage at night, gathering different types of plants and plant extracts, honeydew, and other insects such as aphids. They also feed on animal carcasses and other food materials they can find around human homes.
Can Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home?
Carpenter ants are more damaging than little black ants because they have strong teeth and jaws that can tunnel through wood. Unlike termites, they do not eat wooden material. They only chew on it to create tunnels and openings to pass through or build their nest.
Carpenter ants can also chew through electrical wiring, grout, and other materials that can damage the structure of a house.
If you see carpenter ants in your home, it is usually a sign that you already have decaying wood in your structures due to water or moisture damage. The presence of carpenter ants can further destroy these structures.
You can watch the video below if you want to see what a carpenter ant damage looks like.
What Is The Difference Between Black Ants And Carpenter Ants?
It can be difficult to see the difference between ants because of their small size and almost similar body structure. However, you can find little clues in detail and their behavior. Here's how you can tell the difference between black ants and carpenter ants.
You can differentiate carpenter ants from little black ants through their thorax (mesosoma). The thorax is the middle part of their bodies immediately below the head. Carpenter ants have a rounded thorax while those of little black ants are slightly uneven.
Little black ants are roughly about 0.15 centimeters long while carpenter ants are bigger and can grow as long as 0.6 to 1.2 centimeters in length.
Little black ants have two segmented bodies, while the carpenter ants only have one. The head of the carpenter ant is almost heart-shaped while little black ants are rounded. Another significant and visible difference is that some carpenter ants (particularly the queen and males) have wings.
Carpenter ants are typically black, but you will also find brown or red ones. Little black ants are true to their name because their only color is black or a very dark brown.
View this video below if you want to see the actual difference between their size and body structure.
What Do Black Ants In The House Mean?
Having black ants in the house can mean many things to people and cultures. In some parts of the world, seeing random black ants in the home usually signifies luck and means you will soon have an increase in wealth.
Ants are hard workers and symbolize diligence, so many cultures see them as a welcome presence rather than pests.
Scientifically, however, ants in the house can only mean two things. One is that there's a source of food around the house that's attracting them, and second, there's moisture in the wood or cracks that make it an ideal space for them to build their nest.
How Do I Get Rid Of Black Ants In The House?
Ants are usually an indication that you need to assess the structural foundations of your home. Rotten wood might be attracting the ants and their nest is further causing damage.
The situation becomes more urgent when you identify carpenter ants in the house because they can cause damage faster and more aggressively than little black ants.
There are several ways to get rid of them safely without harming them and using harsh and toxic chemicals. Pest control experts have the following recommendations.
- Clean up - Get rid of their source of food. Cover garbage cans and clean your home of food scraps. Make sure all other food stored in the pantry is sealed or placed in containers that ants can't enter.
- Lemon - Spray lemon around moist areas of the home. The citrus in lemon can kill and prevent the growth of fungi that ants love to feed on. The fewer food source for ants, the more likely they will stick around.
- Vinegar mixture - A 50-50 vinegar and water mixture can help repel ants. Spray them in areas where you see them and they will surely steer clear of that space. The smell of vinegar lingers after it dries up and ants can still smell them, so they will steer clear of that area.
- Salt and pepper - Ants absolutely hate salts because it dehydrates them. Sprinkling some in the areas where you have seen them crawling will force them to move out. They also hate the smell of pepper so sprinkle them around corners to get rid of ants.
These suggestions will work for minor infestations but if you have entire colonies living underneath your home and eating up your walls, it's time to call expert pest exterminators.
Dark ants are generally harmless to humans, but because they chew on wood, they can pose damage to the structural foundations of a home. If you suspect an infestation behind your walls, you can remove their food source to keep them away or call pest control services.
Thank you for reading through it, and we hope this article can help you decide what to do when you see black ants in your home. Do browse our website for more great articles on managing ants and other home pests. Below are some great articles you can check out.