Identifying Common Household Ants

Identifying and Managing Common Household Ants

Ants are among the most common household pests, capable of invading homes in search of food and shelter. Identifying the type of ant and implementing effective management strategies can help keep these tiny invaders at bay. Here’s a guide to identifying and managing common household ants.

Argentine Ants

  • Appearance: Light to dark brown and about 1/8 inch long.
  • Behavior: Form large colonies and are often found in moist environments
  • Habitat: Kitchens and bathrooms, attracted to sweet substances and water.

Carpenter Ants

  • Appearance: Large ants, typically black or red, ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long.
  • Behavior: Excavates wood to build nests, which can damage wooden structures.
  • Habitat: Decaying wood, including wall voids, door frames, and attics.

Odorous House Ants

  • Appearance: Brown or black, about 1/8 inch long, emits a rotten coconut smell when crushed.
  • Behavior: Prefer sweets but will eat almost anything.
  • Habitat: Indoor nests near sources of moisture, often under sinks or in wall voids.

Pavement Ants

  • Appearance: Dark brown to black, about 1/8 inch long, with parallel lines on their head and thorax.
  • Behavior: Nest under sidewalks, driveways, and building foundations.
  • Habitat: Indoors near food sources and in walls, often found in kitchens.

Managing Ant Infestations

Maintain Cleanliness

  • Keep your home clean to reduce food sources for ants. Wipe down counters, sweep floors, and store food in airtight containers. Regularly take out the trash and clean up spills immediately.

Seal Entry Points

Inspect your home for cracks, gaps, and holes where ants can enter.

  •  Seal these entry points with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent ants from gaining access.

Eliminate Moisture

Ants are attracted to moisture, so fix leaky pipes, faucets, and roof leaks. 

  • Use dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements and bathrooms to reduce humidity levels.

Use Natural Repellents

Natural repellents like vinegar, lemon juice, and essential oils (e.g., peppermint, tea tree) can deter ants. 

  • Spray these substances around entry points and areas where ants are active.

Set Baits and Traps

Use ant baits and traps to target the colony.

  •  Ant baits contain a slow-acting poison that workers carry back to the nest, effectively eliminating the colony. Place baits near trails and entry points.

Regular Monitoring

Regularly inspect your home for signs of ant activity, especially during warmer months. 

  • Early detection allows for prompt action, preventing large infestations.


Professional Pest Control

For severe infestations or if you’re unable to control the problem yourself, consider hiring a professional pest control service. Professionals have the expertise and tools to identify the ant species and implement effective treatments.


Identifying the type of ant invading your home is the first step in managing an infestation. By maintaining cleanliness, sealing entry points, eliminating moisture, using natural repellents, and employing baits and traps, you can effectively control common household ants. For persistent problems, professional pest control services like TruNorth Pest Control, can provide expert solutions to keep your home ant-free.