Ants are the bane of any picnic. It doesn't take long before they get in to everything. And ask any kid that has rolled around on an antpile if THAT was any fun.

With ants being the #1 nuisance pest in the United States, ant control is paramount to many homeowners. There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., although only about 25 species commonly infest homes. Ants are social insects that typically live in underground colonies, made up of workers and a queen. Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets. Ants are easily identifiable due to their three distinct body region: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. Despite similar construction, ants vary in overall appearance. Small or large ants and brown or black ants are common nicknames for different species.

         
    Ants are not fun. Here are a few reasons why..

  • Ants attack and defend themselves by biting and, in many species, by stinging, often injecting or spraying chemicals such as formic acid in the case of formicine ants, alkaloids and piperidines in fire ants, and a variety of protein components in other ants. Bullet ants (Paraponera), located in Central and South America, are considered to have the most painful sting of any insect, although it is usually not fatal to humans. This sting is given the highest rating on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
  • The sting of jack jumper ants can be fatal, and an antivenom has been developed for it.
  • Fire ants are unique in having a poison sac containing piperidine alkaloids. Their stings are painful and can be dangerous to hypersensitive people.
  • Many ant species are considered as pests. The presence of ants can be undesirable in places meant to be sterile. They can also come in the way of humans by their habit of raiding stored food, damaging indoor structures, causing damage to agricultural crops either directly or by aiding sucking pests or because of their stings and bites. The adaptive nature of ant colonies make it difficult to eliminate entire colonies. Professional services are required for this.

Lemon ants make devil's gardens by killing surrounding plants with their stings and leaving a pure patch of lemon ant trees. This modification of the forest provides the ants with more nesting sites inside the stems of the Duroia trees.

Most do-it-yourself ant control approaches kill only the ants you see. Some truly effective treatments can penetrate and destroy nests to help prevent these pests from returning. Also, home remedies don't account for the fact that different kinds of ant infestations require different treatments.

Colonies can number up to 300,000 to 500,000, and whole colonies can uproot and relocate quickly when threatened. They can nest about anywhere in and around your house; in lawns, walls, stumps, even under foundations.