Scientists have discovered more than 10,000 species of ants on our planet and report that they have been around for 120 million years, which is astonishing when we consider that our ancestors showed up only 200,000 years ago.
In Canada, there are thought to be only 186 species of these six-legged, large-headed insects, and there is even a Twitter account (@AntsCanada) dedicated to them, where you can watch a video of a queen ant giving birth or a live stream of an ant colony.
Though you are probably more interested in the kinds of ants that you might find strolling along a baseboard in your home in Alberta than in those thriving in a contained ant colony in a teenager’s room; therefore, we present the 4 basic types of ants that might move into your home.
Just how many species of ants are found in Alberta?
According to the ant species counters, also known as scientists, there are more than 80 species of ants living in the province of Alberta: In 1966, a biological survey of Alberta ants found only 40 species: the list continues to grow as time passes.
The four kinds of ants Albertans are likely to find in their homes
1. The largest, and most common ants in Alberta are carpenter ants; they often grow to 12 mm long and usually live in our forests, being partial to damp, dark spaces. Naturally, they also enjoy the dark, damp spaces that exist in your home, burrowing through wood and insulation to create nests.
2. Second to the carpenter ant in numbers is the field ant, living in the mounds that are often called “ant hills” in lawns or nesting under sidewalks. The sweet scraps of fruits and vegetables in compost bins, whether in a backyard or a kitchen counter, are alluring to the field ant.
3. The royally named pharaoh ant also enjoys eating fruit, meat, pies and dead insects. This tiny ant, which usually grows to 1.5 mm long, likes to move in behind baseboards, inside furniture, underneath floors or even among stacks of linens.
4. The name “moisture ant” is used to refer to several different species of ants that are particularly drawn to moisture in wood and other materials. These ants will usually not disturb healthy wood; however, they will settle into decaying wood, often speeding up its demise.
In Alberta, if you find an unsettling number of ants in your home, they probably belong into one of the four above categories: These ants are not a direct danger to your health, but they are all capable of damaging your property.
Should ants decide to move in with you; the experts at Harlow Pest Control can easily assess the situation and recommend prudent options. After all, though it is unquestionably intriguing to watch a live stream of hard-working ants in a far away colony online, it can be disturbing to know that they are nesting somewhere unseen in your home.