There are more than a few types of ants prevalent in Canada, though some inhabit a wide range of habitats and are more commonly seen than others. Most people are familiar with ants through coloration, with black and red at the forefront of many homeowners’ minds. Most ants are black in colour including the most common ones such as the pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum, the black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, and the little black ant, or Monomorium minimum. As the name suggests, the smallest is the little black ant, averaging 1.5 mm in length. A highly adaptive species, this ant may build nests in open areas of lawns or buildings, generally in woodwork, masonry, and under carpets. The pavement ant is a little larger, at around 3 mm long, and typically nests under sidewalks, building slabs, or large rocks. The black carpenter ant nests primarily in trees, wooden building structures, and in decaying logs and grows up to 1.6 cm in length.
While not indigenous to Canada, red ants have infested the country over time. Some ants being deemed red in color comes from basic misidentification, as some black ants appear reddish-brown from time to time. The species most commonly referred to as a red ant would be the European fire ant, Myrmica rubra. An aggressive and invasive species, the European fire ant is small, around 5 mm long, with a shiny abdomen covered in fine hairs. The red ant builds nests in places that maintain high humidity, such as along tree roots, under rocks or logs, or in moist soil beds.
Each species of ant may affect homeowners in different ways. The pavement ant and the little black ant both nest in areas that may in turn become detriments to home and business owners. Nests built under structures, including sidewalks and foundations, may erode soil over time causing damage. The black carpenter ant nests in decaying wood by tunneling and expanding colonies. Tunnels lead to structural failure in some cases that may require repair. European fire ants remain aggressive in nature and may swarm and sting when disturbed. The sting is painful in nature and in rare cases may cause allergic reactions. In order to properly deal with ant infestations of any kind, contact a local pest removal contractor to avoid any injuries or structural damages.
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