Is It Really Bad to Have Ants Around?

Most of us just don’t like ants because some species sting, and that’s a huge nuisance. Other ants build mounds in gardens and yards, and they flock to flowers and other plants. It is also common for ants to farm aphids. These things are detrimental to buds and blooms, and gardens and landscapes. But you might consider these problems as not very serious. Compared to termites or even roaches, ants are tamer pests, right? Well, you might be able to live with a landscape spoiled by ants or you might be able to tolerate ants crawling all over your home. But be aware that there are certain types of ants that can do real damage.

Wood-Boring Carpenter Ants
Termites are not the only pests that can cause great damage to wood; carpenter ants are also aggressive destroyers of anything that’s made of wood. These ants, which measure about ¼” to ½” in length, create nests in wood. They bore holes and make these holes bigger and bigger in order to accommodate their growing colonies. They do not eat wood, which is the main difference of carpenter ants from termites. In the U.S., one of the most common wood pests is the black carpenter ant. This destroys wood, and it usually prefers damp or moist wood. So, the presence of carpenter ant colonies in homes and business establishments is a serious concern as these pests can damage the integrity of structures.

Disease-Causing Pharaoh Ants

If you think that ants can’t possibly transmit diseases, think again. Pharaoh ants are a small species of ants that are yellow-orange in color. These ants spread pathogenic microorganisms, like those that cause pseudomonas and staph infections. It requires skill to get rid of pharaoh ants because once their nests are disturbed, the ants can easily scatter. Once they do, they then create new nests in other sites, which could make an infestation much worse. Pharaoh ants have been known to infect hospitals, including sterile medical supplies, intravenous drips and other items; thus, spreading infections much faster. These ants can also live in electric sockets, which can cause short circuits or fires.

Dangerous Fire Ants

Fire ants, which are also known as red ants and tropical fire ants, are known stingers. Although the sting of a fire ant is not venomous to most people, anyone who gets stung by a swarm of fire ants can get itchy and painful rashes. These tiny bumps resulting from a fire ant bite can swell, and these can look like tiny pustules. The danger here is that when scratched repeatedly, the area could become infected. Some individuals are also very sensitive to insect bites. When hypersensitive people are stung by fire ants, they could suffer a severe allergic reaction known as “anaphylactic shock.” A few symptoms of anaphylaxis include chest pains or difficulty of breathing, fainting, widespread rashes or hives, as well as nausea and vomiting.

Important Reminders

There are hundreds of species and sub-species of ants, and many of these kinds of ants affect people, communities, surroundings, as well as agriculture, in a number of detrimental ways. Therefore, ant infestations inside homes or outdoors need to be addressed immediately to prevent further damage.

Claire Clarke is a freelance writer and a home improvement hobbyist. She writes about how to get rid of common household pests. She also blogs for Insight Pest Solutions, a company that offers ant, rodent, and roach control services.