Can you help me identify this ant? It's invading my house!
December 10, 2016 11:42 PM   Subscribe

These ants are invading my bathroom. Does anyone know what kind of ants they are? pic
posted by Kerborus to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is no pic or link!

Where are you located? Can you describe these ants? My default via experience is to say Argentine Ants if they are prolific and super tiny. Get an exterminator to identify the nests and destroy them. Destroying the nests is the only way. Having these ants only invites more insects into your home. Ask me how I know.
posted by jbenben at 11:50 PM on December 10, 2016

Yep, if you have ants in your house and they are congregating around water or, if exposed to food, swarming on protein rather than sugar, you have Argentine ants. Especially likely if you live on the West Coast of the USA.
posted by Sara C. at 1:54 AM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

The only thing that matters is if they go for protein or sugar, and most protein lovers still want a little water and sugar. Pharoahs ants are super common around the world, and are about the same 2 mm long as the Argentines.

I'd start with gel bait, the kind that comes in a syringe, because that works best for the widest variety of ants, and you can squirt that in to any cracks, as well as dab little bits on paper to leave near specific trails.

The little plastic pre-loaded baits are much less effective in my experience.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:39 AM on December 11, 2016

Yeah, in my experience there are only 2 types of ants that invade houses: protein or sugar. Although after living in Texas I now know about fire ants too, but I don't think they go in houses so much. Sugar ants are pretty obviously going after sugar and are what I saw a lot on the east coast, maybe because protein ants are less common there. Keep your sugary stuff tightly sealed or in the refrigerator (and don't forget about that box of lifesavers your Grandma gave you one Christmas that lingered on a shelf for years), and if you get some anyway put out a bowl of sugar water laced with Borax. Sugar ants are basically one trick ponies, so that should do it.
Protein ants are harder because they eat anything, even floor crumbs and under-couch cereal, so once you have them it's nearly impossible to out-houseclean them. The best answer is peanut butter and Borax, and a LOT of patience. It will take time to start working and in the meantime the ants feast. If you use Raid or something you defeat the purpose of the Borax (kill the queen) and will just get them again. So, put the Borax meal someplace out of the way (for you and for pets) but easy to watch and keep your hands off for about a week. You should see the number of visitors drop off a lot by then. Then wash the floor/area with a light Borax solution, or vinegar if you have animals, and make sure your house food sources are tightened up and you should have broken the cycle.
Borax is your friend here, just keep a box around in case.
posted by dness2 at 1:00 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here is the pic

This is a weird situation. They first appeared in the kitchen, going after crumbs on the counter. They were relentless for about 2 months. After chasing them away for a while they disappeared and then randomly appeared in my upstairs bathroom, which is right above the kitchen (but is also 3 floors from ground level). They have been in my bathroom, where there is absolutely NOTHING they would want besides water. They are coming out of little tiny holes in the grout of the tiles around my bathtub and shower. They never find anything but keep coming back. One day I took a shower and they EXPLODED out of the tile. There had to be 500 of them. That made me worried they were in the walls or something. Sounds like I will need to try some of the remedies above. Thank you!
posted by Kerborus at 6:58 PM on December 11, 2016

Oh, and forgot, I am north of Atlanta, GA. It's very cold here as well. 20 degrees. No effect on their activity.
posted by Kerborus at 7:19 PM on December 11, 2016

[Fixed the link. Kerborus, when you use the "link" button, first type a word -- even just "pic here" -- and then highlight the word(s) and click the link button, what your links are missing is the anchor text. Highlighting and then clicking the button will automatically turn the highlighted words into the anchor text!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:38 PM on December 11, 2016

Thank you!
posted by Kerborus at 7:41 PM on December 11, 2016

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