Ant Facts & FAQ

Ants have been around for well over 50 million years, and in that time, we have learned a great deal about them. We hope to answer any and all questions you might have, so please comment if you feel that something valuable is missing.

How Can I Get Rid of Ants?

By getting rid of the ant queen. This is really the only sure-proof way.

Do Grits Kill Ants, Fire Ants, or Any Types of Ants?

NO - grits will not kill ants. The myth states that if ants consume grits they will inflate and explode. Grits are made from corn and ants adore corn. When anything is placed on top of an ant mound, it is likely to aggravate the colony. Repetitive harassment may even cause them to move to an alternative location, which might explain how this idea originated.

I Found Ants With Wings All Over my House. What do I do?

Flying ants and termites are easily confused, but there are key physical characteristcs that seperate the two, such as body shape and wing length.

How do Ants Communicate?

By brushing or spraying a path of specialized pheromones, ants are able to use scents and vibrations to understand and accomplish complex tasks. An ant by itself has a very low brain capacity, but acting towards a common goal, swarm intelligence is understood to be a very advanced level of logic and collective thinking. Ant pheremones are broken down into two groups:

The 'food trail' pheromone
Responsible for predifined paths to sources of food and water
The 'alarm' pheromone
Signals danger to the rest of the colony, causing ants to seek alternative safer routes

These are invisible odors, undetectable by the human nose. These odors dominate a large percentage of behavioral patterns related to ant activity, which they can smell and taste. It has been said that trail pheromones can last for many days. This is the same reason homeowners have recurring infestations in the same locations.

What do Ants Eat and Drink?

This depends on the species at hand. Some species eat each other, while others prefer sweets or other insects. They obtain moisture or water from the food items they consume and their surrounding environment. Use the table below to better understand the dietary restrictions of each species, or see our guide to ant identification for additional information.

Argentine Ant This ant is black and extremely tiny to the eye. The argentine ant is likely responsible for more interior ant infestations than any other species. Will feed on oils, proteins, sweets, but prefers sweets.
Fire Ants Reddish brown and very fast. Builds mounds all over the yard. Diet consists of oils, proteins, and sweets, but prefers proteins.
Carpenter Ants Large and black, notorious for tunneling through wood structures. Impartial dietary preference, varies between proteins and sweets

It is important to test a baits efficacy prior to use. If placed in tiny amounts around an existing ant trail, scouts should take to the bait in as little as 5 minutes, no longer than 15. This can easily be determined by placing sugar or meat at one end of the trail - wait a few minutes to determine the best choice and you will have a better chance at controlling them.

Where do Ants Live?

Ants prefer to live under loose vegetation, plant debris, slightly moist soil or sand, around posts, trees mailboxes, or rotting wood. They will live wherever they are able to find food. The answer to this depends largely on the species in question.

Do Ants Die During the Winter?

No - ants make it past winter by falling into a protective physical state of dormancy until there is sufficient heat. When temperatures rise, they reemerge. In the southern region of the United States the soil never stays frozen long enough or deep enough to kill off any colonies. Ants are unable to regulate their core body temperatures like humans, so they are more active and mobile under direct heat or sunlight. In fact, most ant infestations originate on the side of the home that faces sunrise. This dormancy cycle can be interrupted at any time by fluctuations in heat or the temperature of the soil.

How do Ants Breathe?

Ants breathe through tiny openings in their skin known as spiracles. The openings are attached to valves which open and close, distributing oxygen throughout the ants body.

Have we missed something important? Please leave a comment and we'll make sure the question is answered as soon as possible.