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Are All Ants Bad? The Truth About These Tiny Creatures

The short answer is no. They play an important role in our ecosystems. They aerate the soil and aid in seed spreading. 

Here in the Carolinas, there are about 600 species of ants. Of those 600 only 8 are seen as a pest by the pest control community. While many are nuisance pests others will damage homes and businesses. A few ants are life-threatening due to allergic reactions.

Read on and we will explore two very different ants. One that is better for humans and one that is dangerous; the pyramid and the fire ant.

pyramid ants

Pyramid Ant

One of the most common ants in the Carolinas is the pyramid ant. These ants are small, only reaching about a quarter of an inch long. They get their name from their habit of building pyramid-shaped dirt mounds around the entrances to their nests.

Pyramid ants are most active during the summer months. During this time, they will forage for food and build their nests. Nests can contain up to 10,000 ants and can be found in a variety of locations, including gardens, lawns, and trees. They eat other insects, such as other ants, caterpillars, and grubs. 

Fire Ants

Fire ants are one of the most aggressive and dangerous types of ants. They are native to South America but have been accidentally introduced to other parts of the world, including the southern United States. Fire ants are red or black and can grow up to six millimeters long. They build large nests that can contain up to 250,000 ants. Fire ants are very aggressive and will attack people and animals if they feel threatened. They can also cause serious damage to crops. Want to know more? Check out NC State Extension.

fire ants

Pyramid Ants or Fire Ants in your yard?

While both ants can be a nuisance, fire ants are much more dangerous. Fire ants are aggressive and attack anything they perceive as a threat. They have been known to kill small animals, and their bites can be very painful to humans. If you have an allergy to their venom, a fire ant bite can be life-threatening. 

Pyramid ants are known as a beneficial species as they eat invasive, aggressive fire ants. Unlike fire ants, pyramid ants are far less likely to bite or sting a human. Having pyramid ants in the yard is great for keeping red imported fire ants out of your yard but is unsuitable for lawns.

It may be helpful to keep an eye on your lawn if you live nearby, as the pyramid ants and red fire ants can create unsightly mounds in open sunlit areas, ruining landscaping and making lawn care difficult for homeowners.

fire ant mound

Ant Mounds

Most ants in the Carolinas live in large underground nests or ant mounds. These mounds can be up to five feet tall and contain thousands of ants. The ants use the dirt from the mound to build tunnels that lead to different parts of their nest.

The presence of fire ants and pyramid ants can be determined by observing their mounds. Both mounds are round, however, the fire ant mounds are flat and have a wider diameter. Their mounds are raised off the ground with the pyramid ant and have a discernible pyramid shape similar to an upsidedown funnel.

What to know more about ants? Check out our page about ants.

Ant Problems in Charlotte?

If you have an ant problem, the best thing to do is call us! At Crown Pest Control we know our ant mounds. We will come out and assess the situation and develop a plan. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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