The National Pest Management Association recently conducted a nationwide survey of Pest Control Professionals regarding their annual experiences with ant pests. According to the survey’s results, 100 percent of interviewed professionals addressed ant infestations within homes during the one year period, and with the exception of bed bugs, ants were ranked as the most difficult group of insect pests to control within infested structures. Of all the pest control companies included in the survey, 66 percent treated homes for carpenter ants, 62 percent treated homes for odorous house ants, and 59 percent treated homes for pavement ants. Six other ant pests were encountered repeatedly by 20 to 36 percent of pest control companies surveyed. Some of these common ant pests included European fire ants, ghost ants, Pharaoh ants, Roger’s ant and rover ants.

The survey also asked pest control professionals if they thought that the rate of ant infestations in their respective localities have been increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same. In response, 54 percent stated that ant infestations have been increasing, 41 percent stated that infestations have remained stable, and only five percent stated that infestations are decreasing. Many of the ant pest species that pest control professionals claimed to have encountered most frequently are particularly abundant in the northeastern US.

The results of the survey are somewhat misleading, as “carpenter ants” include several different pest species, while both odorous house ants and pavement ants each refer to only one ant species. Therefore, carpenter ants are overrepresented in the survey’s results. The most economically significant carpenter ant species in the US is the black carpenter ant, which can be found in all states with the exception of Alaska and the Pacific coastal states. However, black carpenter ants are most abundant in the eastern half of the country, especially in the northeast. Surprisingly, the European fire ant was also one of the most frequently encountered ant pest species within homes despite their limited habitat distribution, which does not extend outside of the northeastern states. In other words, the northeast has been seeing a disproportionate amount of ant pest activity when compared to the rest of the country.

Have you ever experienced issues with European fire ants within or around your home?