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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Small red/black ants in bathroom

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Small Ant?
Hello, I live in Northern New Jersey (by the NJ/NY border), and had a 1st floor bathroom renovated this summer. In Nov, Dec, and now Jan I have occassionaly seen a few very small, slow crawling ants(?) in the bathroom.  Interestingly I found one in a closet located on the 2nd floor above the renovated bathroom. The picture attached shows that ant on the plastic cover for a knitted blanket stored in the closet. I have never had any problems with bugs in the house.  I am not sure if a bathroom fan added to the new bathroom (which vents to the outside) is letting these bugs in.  But I would love to know what they are and how to get rid of them.  They do not fly or jump, and are about the size of a sesame seed. They have 8 legs. Thank you in advance for your reply.

Answer
Jocelyn:

The attached image IS an ant of some kind, but I can't make an identification beyond the family level (Formicidae), or tell you if this is a pest species.  It might be a queen, looking for a nesting site, but that would be unusual for this time of year...

You might consider posting this image (and an enlarged version if you can do that, I'm not computer-savvy enough to know), to:

http://www.bugguide.net

in the "ID Request" section.  We have at least two ant experts that visit pretty regularly to identify images.  Please understand it could take some time, though.

I would NOT employ an extermination service until you get a proper ID on the insects.  Taking specimens to an entomologist at a local university, museum, state agriculture department, or even public health department (vector control division) is your best bet.  No substitute for seeing an actual specimen.

Eric Eaton
author, "Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America"
http://community.webtv.net/bugeric/BugEric

    Questioner's Rating
    Rating(1-10)Knowledgeability = 10Clarity of Response = 10Politeness = 10
    CommentThank you Eric for you prompt response!


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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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