Page Header Image

The 3 Most Common Ants in Virginia – And Why You Should Care

close-up of group of brown ants sharing piece of brown sugar

It’s spring in Leesburg, and that means the ants have begun marching once again. They all may look the same at first glance, but some cause more damage than others. Knowing the difference at a glance can save you money and worry in the long run. Here are Virginia’s three most common ants:

1. Formica Ants

These ants have one bump between the thorax and the abdomen. The Disney cartoon idea of ants keeping aphids as pets comes from this ant – it shepherds around smaller aphids and feeds on the honeydew they create.

Why you should care:

While Formica ants don’t sting, they’re named for their ability to spray formic acid from the tips of their abdomens. In the event of an indoor infestation, professionals should be contacted.

2. Pavement Ants

These brown-tinted ants have clubbed antennae, small stingers, and parallel grooves across their body. These are the ants you usually see residing in the characteristic “dirt mound.” Their colonies can grow to up to 4,000 ants. This type of ant is rarely seen indoors during the warmer months, and only becomes more worrisome in the winter when these ants are seeking shelter from the cold.

Why you should care:

This type of ant is relatively benign – just keep an eye out for any activity that leads them into your home.

3. Black Carpenter Ants

Of all the Virginia ants, this one is definitely the largest. As its name suggests, it has adark color and is covered in gray-black hairs. It has a single waist segment and a long abdomen.

Why you should care:

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but they do love settling in damp wood shelters – the kind they can create by biting tunnels through your walls or your back deck. Colonies can grow to up to 10,000, so if you’re seeing carpenter ant damage around your home, it’s best to call in a professional.

Looking for a solution to your ant problem? Try Green Pest Services – our team gives you local expertise and safe solutions for your family.