How to Get Rid of Ants - Types of Ants in Florida
Living in Florida has a lot of benefits: great weather, great people, and lots to do. But one of the major problems we have in Florida is ants. Somehow these small insects are able to find ways into almost any home. Learn about the types of ants in Florida as well as different ways to get rid of ants.
There are hundreds of ant species worldwide, with many of them residing in the sunshine state, so it can be easy to get the many kinds of ants in Florida confused. Many of these ants have different nicknames depending on where you are located geographically. Here are the most common types of ants in Florida:
The tiny ants you typically see in your kitchen are sugar ants. These tiny ants are harmless to humans but dangerous to food. They’re attracted to carbs and sweets, meaning they will more than likely help themselves to your pantry or cabinets. Sugar ants can also be found in dishwashers if you do not keep the door tightly closed. If you're looking for how to get rid of sugar ants in your kitchen, see our section on DIY ant control.
The red ants that you commonly see in your yard or garden are fire ants. Fire ants are one of the Florida ants that bite, causing itchy welts and painful marks even if you’re not allergic to them. Red ants in Florida can sting multiple times, and they will even sting without feeling threatened. This makes red ants some of the most irritating and even dangerous types of ants!
Carpenter ants may also be known as bull ants. These ants search for voids where they can nest, or excavate soft materials like rotten wood or styrofoam. Bull ants in Florida can be black, red, or a combination of the two. Bull ant bites are especially painful, so it’s important to take care when dealing with them.
Ghost ants have a dark head and a light-colored, or translucent, body. They’re fast, smaller than most ants, and have a keen sense of smell. They’ll try and attack any sweet foods left unsealed, and their teeth are sharp enough to break through food packaging. Ghost ants can bite, but only if they feel threatened.
Pharaoh ants might be the worst ant to find in your home. It takes professional treatment to get rid of pharaoh ants because they can survive through most conventional household or DIY pest treatments. These ants like sweet, fatty, and oily foods. Pharaoh ants can be yellowish or red in color. Pharoah ant bites can be incredibly painful, but they are not poisonous. Similar to ghost ants, Pharaoh ants only bite if they feel threatened.
Bigheaded ants are an invasive species here in the US that is common in warm, humid climates-- which is why they love Florida! As the name suggests, these ants have disproportionally large, heart-shaped heads. They do not bite unless they feel threatened, but they can still be a nuisance for homeowners. Bigheaded ants will contruct mud tubes outside of your home, which can be confused for termite activity. These colonies are also tremendously large, which can make them difficult to get rid of.
You may be able to get rid of ants in Florida with these ideas:
- Cornmeal - tiny ants are attracted to cornmeal and will want to eat it, but their bodies can’t digest it. Any ant that eats cornmeal will die, so sprinkle it where you see ants inside or near the colony outside if you know where they live.
- Vacuum - Use a vacuum or dust-bust the ants when you see them, then sprinkle some talcum powder and vacuum that up as well. The talcum powder will make sure they die inside the vacuum instead of just giving them a new home.
- Borax - Take 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of borax, 1 teaspoon of water, and mix well. Spread this mixture on pieces of cardboard and place them where you see ants. Most types of ants in Florida will carry it back to the nest, and the other ants will die from the borax after eating it. Don’t use this mixture near infants or pets.
- Dish soap - Mix dish soap, water, and some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it on any type of ants you see. This will kill them quickly and effectively.
- Boiling water - If you know where the ant colony lives, or if you’re able to follow them back to their nest, pour boiling water down into the hole. This should wipe out the colony. Be careful not to scald yourself and to avoid any agitated ants as they flee from the nest.
Don’t Let Ants Make You Antsy—Get Professional Help!
These tips should help you get rid of ants, but ants can come up with ingenious ways of getting inside a home and disturbing your family. Tiny ants, bull ants, red ants, sugar ants, and other types of ants in Florida all pose unique challenges and threats. Sometimes it’s impossible to naturally keep ants away, and that's when you need professional help. At Paul’s Termite and Pest Control, our ant control experts are here to help. Our treatments are science-based and eco-friendly, meaning you can count on an ant-free and chemical-free home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are ants affected by cordyceps in Florida?
Cordyceps, also known as the “zombie-ant” fungus, has been known to occur in Florida. This fungus hijacks the motor functions of the host’s brain and eventually kills them off- hence the name “zombie virus.” The fungus causes the ants to continue spreading the spores to other ants. This is most common in tropical climates, which can include Florida. Humans are immune to cordyceps, and this poses no danger to us.
How big are queen ants?
Queen ants are a little over half an inch long. It’s extremely rare to see a queen ant, but they are easy to identify since their trunks are usually as big as their heads.
How long do ants live?
Ants usually live for a couple of months, but it also depends on the type of ant. Worker ants typically have a shorter lifespan than queen ants do. Queen ants can live up to 10-15 years if they are in the right environment!
How many legs do ants have?
Ants have 6 legs. This is the same across all species of ants.