We have all experienced the nuisance presence of ants inside our homes at one time or another, whether you’ve caught one crawling across your kitchen counter or a whole slew of them walking around in a line, clearly foraging for food from somewhere inside your house. Ants are a constant in most human lives, and we learn to recognize these pests from a young age. Even children know what it means when they see small insects that are usually brown or black colored, six-legged, have a three-segmented body, and two antennae rising from their alien-looking heads. These little guys are after food, and for many species, their primary source for that sustenance tends to be the food inside people’s homes. There are a number of ant species that enter houses to forage for food, and as a whole, they will consume a broad variety of nutrients they can find in sweets, starchy substances, wood, greasy material or food, and many other types of animal and plant matter. It is incredibly important to keep your home sanitized to eliminate any possible food sources. Here are just a few of the most common ant species you need to watch out for.

Odorous house ants is one of the major indoor nuisance ant pest species that people have to deal with. They are also sometimes referred to as “sweet ants,” because of the odor similar to that of rotten coconut they release in defense and if they get crushed. These guys will forage kitchens in human homes in very large numbers, even swarming kitchen counters and floors in their search for food and liquids. These are the ants people often see walking in long trails that lead from a door or windows to food areas in a home. They are very small in size, between ⅛ and 1/16-inch long, which allows them to gain access to and contaminate food.

Pharaoh ants are another common household nuisance pest, and like odorous house ants, they are very small, around 1/16-inch long. Their translucent appearance created by their golden yellow to red coloring also makes them more difficult to spot. They can be found in many places of a home, including under sinks, inside cabinets, in furniture, in kitchen wall voids, and inside appliances and light fixtures. This is an important species to keep under control in your home, as they can pose a health threat to those living there due to the over 12 pathogens and bacteria they carry around. They can easily contaminate food and have been known to spread infections by crawling into open wounds.

What other ant species have you encountered inside your own home?