Utah has a variety of ant species. The three most common types are carpenter ants, pavement/sugar ants and little black ants.
Carpenter Ants: These large ants are indigenous to many parts of the world and are generally about 1/4 to 1/2 in. in size but can grow as large as 1 in. They can be black or reddish brown in color and they prefer to build nests in dead, damp wood. Carpenter ants get their name from their nasty habit of creating nests within the wood parts of buildings, during which they chew the wood and create holes. This can weaken the building over time. Unlike termites, carpenter ants, they do not actually eat it. When inspecting for carpenter ants, we look for a sawdust like material, which provides a clue for the location of the nest.
Pavement Ants/Sugar Ants – The pavement ant or sugar ant is one of the most recognizable ant species as they are the ants that are typically found crawling along cracks and seams in sidewalks and pavement. They are brown to blackish in color and about one-eighth of an inch long. Pavement ants will are omnivores and will eat almost anything. They like to feast on other insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts, ice cream and cheese. Pavement ants do not typically pose a public health risk, but can contaminate food with various bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella and should be avoided.
Little Black Ants – Members of this species are extremely small and shiny black in color. Workers are about 1/16th inch in length and the queens are about 1/8th inch in length. In doors, they are usually first seen in the Kitchen, Bathroom or Laundry Room but can spread to other areas very rapidly. Little black ants will form multiple colonies with multiple queens and eggs laid by a queen can take just 10 days to hatch. This can make little black ants more difficult to get rid of than other species.