Ants Fun Ants are one of the most common pests in and around homes on Cape Cod. They do have their good qualities. Not only do ants turn more soil than earthworms, which helps aerate the growing environment for plant life, they aid in decomposition, and disperse the seeds of many plants, and also kill other pest species. Ants really aren't a problem until they invade our buildings looking for food and water or to nest.

Ants have a wide variety of nesting habits and food preferences. Some ants build nests in soil, producing characteristic mounds while others nest in homes behind moldings, baseboards, countertops, and similar places. Still other ants nest in decaying or moisture damaged wood. Ants feed on different types of food, including starches, meats, fats, and sweets. Knowledge of ant food and nesting preferences is very important in controlling ant colonies.

Damage from ants varies. Most are primarily a nuisance and cause little damage. Some, such as Odorous House Ants, may infest food. Others, like Carpenter Ants, can weaken wood in structures.

Differences Between Ants and Termites

Winged ant

Reproductive ants are sometimes mistaken for reproductive termites that are commonly called swarmers. Ants differ from termites by having a narrow, constricted waist, elbowed (bent) antennae, and hind wings shorter than front wings.

Termites have a more rectangular shaped body with no constrictions, straight, beaded antennae and four wings of equal size and shape that are much longer than the body.

Winged Termite

Termite wings fall off very easily and are usually found on the surface from which the termites have emerged.

Ants are commonly seen in the open, as are winged termites when they swarm. But termite workers, which are creamy white and wingless, avoid light and are rarely seen unless disturbed.