Understanding Ants

Ants are highly social insects that live in organized colonies. Their behavior is governed by a division of labor and communication through chemical signals.

For this reason, having one ant in your house attracts a whole colony through the scent they leave behind. Ants are known foragers who can build a nest anywhere on your property, including inside your walls.

All ant colonies are governed by a queen ant that lays eggs for reproduction. To kill a colony, you need to kill the queen. 

How to Identify Ants

Most common household ants have four distinct body regions: head, thorax, abdomen, and antennae. The reproductive members of their colonies are the only members that are winged. 

With that said, ants can range in size, color, and behavior. There are five common types of ants in Maryland you should be aware of. 

Common Household Ants in Maryland

Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are a small species of ant that may appear dark brown to black. These ants produce a distinct, unpleasant smell, distinguishing them from other species of ants. When odorous house ants are crushed, they emit a foul smell that is similar to a rotting coconut.

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are also dark brown or black in color. However, these ants aren’t typically identified by their appearance but rather by where they prefer to nest. As their name suggests, pavement ants are found nesting in the cracks and crevices found in and next to paved areas, including sidewalks, foundations, and driveways.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are larger ants with a black or red exterior. These ants are known for their destructive excavation habits as they tend to burrow through wood for nests and in search of food. While they don’t consume wood like termites, they can leave behind a trail of frass and cause damage to wooden structures. 

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants are light brown ants known to lift their heart-shaped abdomen over their heads when disturbed. These ants do sting when threatened and tend to infest food that is left out on the counter. 

Thief Ants

Thief ants are small black ants known to infest homes in search of food. They get their name because they tend to steal larvae from other colonies. 

Are Ants Dangerous?

Most ants in Maryland are not considered directly dangerous to human beings, but they can cause a number of problems. Some ants may carry an unpleasant smell, while others are known to infest food based on their foraging patterns.

Carpenter ants should be considered the most dangerous because they can cause significant damage to your home if not dealt with properly. 

Why Do I Have an Ant Problem?

Ants, like other insects and pests, are attracted to properties that offer what they need to survive – food, water, and shelter. Clogged gutters, leaky outdoor fixtures, open garbage cans, gardens, woodpiles, animal feed, compost piles, and outdoor eating areas can draw ants to your property. 

Once on your property, ants will quickly find their way inside your home through openings in its exterior while foraging for food. Ants will also make their way into homes when the weather outside becomes too hot, dry, or wet for them to live comfortably. 

Ants can be a seasonal or year-round pest problem. If an ant colony nests inside, they become a more permanent problem and can become difficult to eliminate without professional help.

Signs of an Ant Infestation

  • Seeing Ants in Your House: The most obvious sign of ant infestation is seeing live ants in your house. Often, you’ll be able to perceive a live ant trail that leads from an ant nest/colony directly to a source of food. 
  • Dirt Piles in Your Yard: A growing ant infestation will result in little dirt mounds popping up around your yard. Be sure to stomp or pour boiling water over these nests to kill off colonies. 
  • Discarded Wings: Some ants may leave discarded wings around window sills and cracks where they enter your home. 
  • Wood Damage: Carpenter Ants, in particular, leave behind a rail of frass in wooden structures they burrow into. 

How to Prevent an Ant Infestation

The best way to treat an ant infestation is to prevent one. Here are several things you can do in and around your home to deter their presence:

  • Clean your home regularly.
  • Store and seal any food and clean up any crumbs. 
  • Repair any gaps in the exterior of your home, roofline, and foundation that ants can use to enter your home.
  • Remove water sources from around your property.
  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have tight-fitting or locking lids on them.
  • Cut tree branches, bushes, and other landscaping away from the outside of your home.
  • Place a stone or crushed rock barrier between any mulch or grass and your home’s foundation.
  • Keep outdoor eating and grilling areas cleaned up.
  • Put into place a professional residential ant control program.

DIY Ant Control

If you do find yourself dealing with ants, there are several DIY controls you can purchase from your local hardware supply store to try and eliminate an infestation. 

Homemade Ant Traps

  • Sugar and Borax: Create a mixture of equal parts sugar and borax and place your trap near any visible ant trails. Theoretically, the ants return the solution to the colony, eliminating their queen. 
  • Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar: Mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar and place the trap in a similar location. The sugar serves as a good attractant, while the baking soda will disrupt their digestive system and slowly kill the colony.


Bait stations use a poison that is carried by worker ants back to the colony. There are several types of baits you can purchase from your local supply store. 

Professional Ant Removal

To completely and confidently eliminate ants from your home or property, partner with a knowledgeable professional. At Pest Czar, our local and experienced pest control professionals can provide the comprehensive residential pest control services needed to find and eliminate all the ants nesting in your home or on your property. 

We also offer solutions to prevent their return via one of our GreenPro-certified pest protection plans. For exceptional, eco-friendly ant control services in the Baltimore, Maryland, area, call Pest Czar today!

Related Resources

A Guide to Ant Control in Maryland

7 Signs Your Home Has A Carpenter Ant Problem 

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