Carpenter ants (pictured above, left) are approximately 5/9″ long and are commonly red, black, or a combination of red and black. They like to live near wood, such as tree stumps, landscaping, or firewood. they usually gain entrance through wet, damaged wood or small holes and crevices of a building.
Carpenter ants get their name because they build tunnels and holes in wood to build their nests. They attack wood that has been wet or damaged by mold. They then build tunnels through undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around door openings, windows or holes for wires. The ants will crawl on bushes or wires to travel to the top of a building to enter. When they come in, the pose a property threat.
To prevent Carpenter Ants, remove water sources or standing water. Cut back branches and trees away from the house. Make sure there are no cracks or holes around the bottom of the house, and make sure that firewood is not stored next to the house.
Red Imported Fire Ants (pictured top, middle) are approximately 1/8 to 3/8 inches long and are a dark reddish brown. They live in mounds on the ground, but can infest garages. They often build their nests near landscaping or near a structural foundation and gain access to a building through cracks and crevices.
Red Imported Fire Ants will sting humans who come across their nest. The sting is painful and often results in a red welt that becomes a white pestule. Often there are multiple stings from several ants and those allergic to the sting of a red imported fire ant will could have a more severe reaction.
The best way to prevent a problem with the red imported fire ant is to avoid their mound nests. To prevent entry to a building, seal all holes and cracks.
They get their name because they build their nests in the cracks of a pavement.
Pavement Ants will eat most anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts, and cheese. They do not present a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.
To prevent infestation of pavement ants, eliminate water sources outside, including standing water. Cut back trees and bushes away from the house, as they gain entrance through cracks and holes in the building and will infest a structure. Store firewood and stacks of wood away from the house.