In Boston, as in many urban and suburban areas, ants are a common feature of the local fauna. These tiny but mighty creatures can be found everywhere from backyards to parks, and unfortunately for some, even within homes. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common ant species you might encounter in Boston:

1. Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

Pavement ants are one of the most commonly sighted ants in urban areas, including Boston. True to their name, they often make their homes in or under cracks in pavements and sidewalks. These small, dark brown to black ants are known for their appetite for sweets, proteins, and even grease, making human dwellings an attractive foraging ground.

2. Carpenter Ants (Camponotus spp.)

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants you’ll find in Boston, with workers ranging from 6 to 12 millimeters in length. They are black or dark brown and prefer to nest in wood, which can lead to damage in wooden structures. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood but excavate it to create their nests.

3. Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile)

When crushed, odorous house ants release a scent often likened to rotten coconuts. They are small, brown ants that invade homes in search of sweets. Their nests can be found in a variety of locations, both indoors and outdoors, including under rocks, in soil, or even under floors or within walls.

4. Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster)

Acrobat ants get their name from their ability to raise their abdomen over their thorax and head, especially when disturbed. They vary in color from light brown to black and nest in decayed wood, under rocks, or in insulation. They can enter houses in search of food, and while inside, they may nest in moisture-damaged wood.

5. Pharaoh Ants (Monomorium pharaonis)

Pharaoh ants are another species that can invade homes. They are small, about 2 millimeters long, and light yellow to red in color, with darker abdomens. These ants are notorious for being a major indoor nuisance, often found in hospitals and apartment buildings, where they infest almost any kind of organic material.

Prevention and Control

Control of ant infestations in Boston primarily involves proper sanitation to eliminate possible food sources, sealing entry points to prevent access, and removing any potential nesting sites close to the structure. For persistent or large infestations, it may be necessary to contact a professional pest control service.

Understanding the behaviors and preferences of these common ant species can aid Boston residents in preventing infestations and taking quick action to control them should they occur.