The 3 Most Common Types of Ants in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland

Ant carrying a piece of food

Ants come in many varieties that may infest or damage your home. Each can be destructive or harmful in its own way. Three of the ants we encounter the most here in the Washington DC area are the Pharaoh Ants, Argentine, and Carpenter Ants.

Argentine Ants

The Argentine ant is one of the most widespread household pests in the world. These small, brown ants are just under 1/8-inch long and are very difficult to control once they invade a home. They are attracted to sweets, oils, proteins, and other food sources, which is why they are often found in kitchens and pantries. Argentine ants will also establish their nests in damp areas, such as under sinks and in crawl spaces.

Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants, also known as sugar ants, are small, black ants that give off a foul smell when crushed. They are a nuisance in homes and can be difficult to control. These ants are attracted to sweet foods and often enter homes in search of food. They will also build their nests in cracks and crevices around the home.

Similar to Argentine ants, they do not pose health threats but do contaminate food supplies.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are large black ants that nest in wood. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood and can cause serious structural damage to your house, necessitating expensive home repairs. Carpenter ants are attracted to moisture, so they are often found near water sources in homes. They can also be found in areas of the home that have been damaged by water. Like many insects, carpenter ants feed on common food items such as meats, pet food, honey, syrup, jellies, candy, sugar, etc.

If you start noticing signs of an ant infestation, contact our experienced team of ant exterminators immediately.

FAQ About Kinds of Ants In Washington DC, VA, and MD

Does Washington DC Have Fire Ants?

Yes, Red Imported Fire Ants can be found in Washington DC, as well as Maryland, though they are more commonly found in Virginia.

Do Ants Contaminate Food?

Yes, ants can contaminate food. If an ant crawls on food that is not properly covered, the ant can leave behind bacteria or other germs that can cause illness. Ants are also attracted to sugary foods and can contaminate these foods with their saliva or feces. Therefore, it is important to keep food properly covered and stored away from ants.

Do Carpenter Ants Smell When Crushed?

Some people say that carpenter ants smell like coconuts, similar to odorous house ants, while others say they have a more pungent, earthy smell. 

If you crush a carpenter ant, it will release a small amount of liquid from its body. This liquid may have a slight odor to it. However, carpenter ants do not produce enough of this liquid to create a strong smell that would be noticeable to humans.

Can Flying Ants Damage Your Home?

Flying ants are a type of ant that is capable of flying. These ants are attracted to light and are often seen near windows or outside in the open. While they don't typically damage homes, they can be a nuisance. If you have a flying ant problem, you should call a professional ant exterminator.

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