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Honolulu's Quick Reference Guide To Ant Identification


May 15, 2020

Hawaii is home to a wide diversity of wildlife. The nature of our island ecosystem makes it hard to know what wildlife is considered native and what has migrated here. However, when it comes to the several species of ants on the islands, whether or not their native doesn’t matter just so long as they don’t come into our Honolulu homes.

fire ants swarming on a tree

There are many types of ants here, but none are sanitary. There isn’t a type of ant that should be marching around in our kitchens and crawling over our dining wear. Still, amongst all the types of ants we don’t want in our homes, differentiating them from one another goes a long way in determining the best plan to get rid of any type of ant infestation. 

What Are Ants?

Most people feel confident in identifying an ant. But believe it or not, people can get it wrong. Sometimes people call termites, white ants. Termites are not even in the ant family. Several people have mistaken different types of flightless wasps as ants, and once in a while, a native bee gets accused of being a queen ant on the search for a new home. 
 
Therefore, the first thing to do to control your ant problem is to ensure that you're properly identifying the insect in your Honolulu home. Here are traits that nearly all types of Hawaii’s ants share:  

  • Ants live in hives. They move in large groups and are only alone when scouting for food.
  • Ants have hierarchies. They have a queen and drones and are more often than not, ants are polymorphic -- meaning they come in many different sizes.
  • Ants are insects. This means they have three body segments and six legs.
  • Ants sting and bite. Ants have stingers and mandibles. Some ant stings are more harmful to humans than others.
  • Only some ants have wings. Particularly, new queen and true-male ants have wings, and these ants are typically seen seasonally - meaning you don’t see them all year round, just when they set out to form new colonies.  

Types Of Ants In Hawaii  

The first step in picking a plan to prevent ants is knowing that the pests invading your home are ants. Now that you know you have ants, you need to determine the specific species so that you can predict behavior and understand the threat. Some ants can do more damage than others, and some types of ants are harder to get rid of than others. Here are the most common ants that we find in Honolulu:

  • Argentine Ant
  • Big-Headed Ant
  • Carpenter Ant
  • Ghost Ant
  • Little Fire Ant
  • Tropical Fire Ants

Because these ants have different behaviors, killing them often takes different methods. Argentine ant, little fire ants, and tropical fire ants can quickly rebuild their colonies after exposure to poison. They take more effort to get rid of than carpenter ants, but carpenter ants can do serious damage to wooden structures and may stay out of sight. Therefore, carpenter ants may be harder to detect.

Most of the ants on the islands are red, brown, or orange, but the big-headed ants stand out because they are usually black, and as their name indicates, big-headed ants have huge heads. Be sure to check out our Ant Identification Page for a comprehensive guide to what kind of ants you may have in your Honolulu home.

No Ant Is Clean

Regardless of the exact type of ant invading your home, none are clean. They are made to carry and disperse chemicals for other ants to follow, but they can carry bacteria in the same way. They track these impurities everywhere they go, often contaminating foods and countertops they crawl across. 
 
When you find yourself dealing with an ant infestation, be sure to call Able Pest Management. It doesn't matter what type of ants you have, we have the experience you're looking for to get rid of them.

Tags: ants | pest prevention | home pest control |

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