The Ants go Marching One by One…

You probably aren’t “hurrah-ing”, as the old rhyme states, if you’re dealing with an ant problem.

Ants tend to be one of the first insects to emerge in the spring. It does not take ants long to build a vast community and invade human space. Ants can be destructive, intrusive and many will hunt out and find food sources provided by humans.

Ants, although a nuisance, have some interesting facts attached to their species. For instance; the largest colony ever found was over 3750 miles wide. Ants are also known as one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to their size.

There are over 12,000 different species of Ant, but below are the most common ants you will find in and around Wisconsin homes and businesses.

Field Ant

1/8”-¼” long Color: Black, red or combination of colors

Field Ants feed on honeydew, nectar, insects and household sweets.

You can find Field Ants on trunk trails, not likely to forage indoors; if they do then it is singly.

Field Ants nest outdoors, usually near trees, sidewalks, rocks, fences and foundations.


Pavement Ant

 1/10 to 1/8 inch (2-3mm) Color: Brown to black

Pavement ants feed on a variety of materials, including live and dead insects, honeydew from aphids, meats, grease, etc. They often enter houses looking for food. They may become numerous in a short period of time in a kitchen or outside on a patio.

Pavement Ants usually nest under stones, concrete slabs, at the edge of pavements, and in houses in crevices in woodwork and masonry.


Pharaoh Ant

Body length 1/12 to 1/16 inch long Color: Body coloration varies from golden yellow to reddish-brown

Pharaoh Ants feed on sweets (jelly, sugar, honey, etc.), cakes and breads, and greasy or fatty foods

Pharaoh Ants nest near sources of food and/or water, such as in wall voids. The size of the colony tends to be large but can vary from a few dozen to several thousand or even several hundred thousand individuals.


Thief Ant

Workers are all the same size, tiny, 1/32-inch long Color: Yellow to light brown with very small eyes

Thief Ants feed on grease and greasy foods, proteins, dead insects, and even dead rodents; may sometimes feed on sweets. They will often steal food and ant larvae from nests of other ants.

Thief Ants travel in set trails inside cabinets, on walls, along baseboards, and along branches of trees and shrubs and they may travel from one room to another by traveling on electrical wires; may be seen in electrical outlets.

Thief Ants are also small enough to forage into packaged foods.


Carpenter Ant 

Adults vary in length: Minor worker: ¼ inch (6 mm) Major worker: ½ inch (12 mm) Color: Black, red, or a combination

Carpenter ants feed on sources of protein and sugar. Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects. They are also very attracted to honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Aphids and scales feed on trees, shrubs, and other plants. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood. They remove wood as they create galleries and tunnels.


Carpenter Ants generally nest outdoors- indoor nests may be satellite colonies. Carpenter ants nest in moist wood including rotting trees, tree roots, tree stumps, and logs or boards lying on or buried in the ground. They can also nest in moist or decayed wood inside buildings.


Many other species exist in Wisconsin. If you are having an ant problem, it’s best to contact a licensed pest management company to assess the situation and assist in eradication.

Safeway Pest Management is licensed, certified and knowledgeable in the treatment of ant species in Wisconsin. If you have an ant problem, please call our office at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800.

You can also visit our website at



Filed under Ants

2 responses to “The Ants go Marching One by One…

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