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Pest Control/common household ant problem

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QUESTION: Hi Jack, we have a problem with the common black ant, not sugar or pharaoh or the other real small ones; this is the standard ant that is slow moving and easy to crush with your finger, but they are persistently showing up on our kitchen counter every morning; I must crush at least a dozen foraging around, but there is nothing there to attract them!...they just seem to be looking. I have tried the routine "Raid" ant traps etc. to no avail, they go up to them and just move on......any advice would be really appreciated, its just aggravating not really wide spread at all,,,just the counter??..Nick

ANSWER: Nick,

Not sure what you mean by "common black ant" as this is not a common name I'm familiar with. However, your description sounds more like a carpenter ant than one of the nuisance ant species like pharaoh or odorous house ant. See http://www.livingwithbugs.com/carpenter_ants.html for pictures of carpenter ants. If the ants are larger than about 3/8" than they are likely carpenter ants. Post a follow up if you can confirm or include a picture.

Jack DeAngelis


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: .....No they aren't Carpenter Ants,,dealt with them before lol..they were actually easy, because the nest was nearby,,,no, these are small black ants a little bigger then a fire ant and somewhat slow moving , unlike the smaller pharaohs; I turn the light on in the morning and there is usually about a dozen or so just crawling around foraging (for what I don't know, we don't leave anything at all they might be interested in),,and I am able to pick them off one at a time just by squishing them with my thumb, and then the rest of the day and night, no sign of them at all, until the next morning...Nick

Answer
Ok. Baits are the best way to deal with all of the nuisance ants, regardless of species. Try one of the professional baits (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/ant_bait.html for sources) or a sugar/borate bait if the infestation is not too large. Spraying any insecticide is a mistake since they can disperse colonies and make matters worse.

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.

Experience

I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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