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Ants are ubiquitous insects in just about every type of landscape, including urban, suburban, wooded, desert, coastal and grassy areas. A massive amount of ants of several different species inhabit the average residential property, but most spend their time below the ground, within tree hollows, and other areas where they cannot be seen by humans. Due to their relatively small size, cryptic habitats and the high number of species that are known house pests, residents often struggle to determine the species of ant pests found within their home. It is very important to properly identify ant pest species found indoors, as pest control methods differ from species-to-species. According to a survey of pest management professionals and urban entomologists, the most commonly misidentified ant species commonly found within homes in the northeast include acrobat ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants and Pharaoh ants. As it happens, pavement ants and odorous house ants look identical to one another.

Pavement ants are the most commonly observed ant species in both urban and suburban areas due to their habit of nesting beneath or on the surface of soil located beneath pavement. The ants that are seen emerging from cracks and spaces in sidewalks, concrete slabs, driveways and other paved surfaces are most likely pavement ants. In addition to nesting beneath pavement, these ants establish nests beneath just about any solid object, including rocks and landscape items in yards. Pavement ant workers are light to dark brown in color and they are excessively small, even for ants, as their body length rarely exceeds 1/10 of an inch in length. Pavement ants are often mistaken for odorous house ants and vice versa, as both of these species are very common house pests in the northeast, and they are similarly colored and comparable in size. However, unlike odorous house ants, pavement ants possess two petiole nodes that can be readily seen with a magnifying glass. All ant species possess either one or two petiole nodes, and they are the first part of an ant’s anatomy observed when identifying a species The petiole node/s appear as bumps that protrude from the front portion of the abdomen near the waist of an ant.

Have you ever used the internet to identify an ant species?