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Types of Ant Nests

If you’ve ever been house hunting, you probably know that finding the perfect home can take some time. The style of the house usually plays a key part in your decision. This is true for ants too. Ant species have preferences when it comes to their nest. Check out the different types of ant nests. 

The Basics—Pouring the Foundation

Ant nests are simply an ant’s home. They are carefully crafted places that ant colonies live in. Entire colonies gather in their nests to eat, care for their eggs, and rest in the winter. Ants choose locations that fulfill their basic needs—food, water, and shelter. They are quite crafty and use a variety of places as the foundation of their nest. These can be broken into three different categories—soil, wood, and opportunity.

Types of Ant Nests infographic

Soil Nests—Earthy Hues

Soil Ant Nest

Ants with soil nests have an eye for organic materials. These nests are the most common. Most ants prefer to curl up underground because they have easy access to food, water, and protection. Being nestled under the ground shelters them from harm and unpleasant weather conditions. They are well hidden unless they are built under rocks and logs.

These nests can be simple or complex. Simple nests typically have one vertical tunnel with a few branches leading to chambers. The small honey ant prefers to keep its home simple. Other ants, like fire ants, jazz up their space. These nests are more complex with many interlacing tunnels.

Simple or complex, most soil nests actually benefit the environment. Ant tunneling makes it easier for plant roots to receive oxygen, moisture, and nutrients. The best way to spot a soil nest is to look for piles of displaced soil. These mounds can be uniform and near the nest, or they can be irregular, scattered piles.

Wood Nests—Cozy Log Cabins

Ants on wood

While some ants find soil cozy, others like being surrounded by wood. Wood nests are built inside wooden structures. Logs, tree limbs, and tree stumps all make the perfect foundation for ant homes. Wood nesters have a specific search criteria—moisture. If they can find wood material that has built-in water, they are sold. This sometimes means that they will begin renovating in the structure of your home. When this happens, they can cause substantial damage.

Ants, like the carpenter and acrobat ant, love to settle down in a nest made of wood. Some wood-nesting ants like their homes to have uniform chambers with parallel tunnels. Other ants like to be creative and have chambers of varying sizes and shapes.

During their tunneling, ants remove bits of wood but won’t eat them. The discarded woodpiles, which often resemble sawdust, are left outside of the nest. These piles are a great way to locate the nest.  

Opportunity Nests—An Eclectic Aesthetic

Ant on rock    

When opportunity knocks, some ants are quick to open the door. Opportunity nests are constructed in any place the ant colony can find. They really aren’t too picky. You’ll find these nests under rocks and concrete, in wall voids, and sometimes in old termite nests. These nests are typically temporary with ants staying for only a few months at most. When they find a better spot, they pack their bags and move. This act is referred to as ant budding.

Opportunity nesters also are quick to leave a spot if they sense danger. This can sometimes make it difficult to control them. Argentine and ghost ants are known for their frequent traveling.

Super colonies, or a network of multiple ant nests, also like this housing style. Ants leave trails that link the different nest sites together creating unity in the super colony. Even with all of their traveling, they won’t ever lose track of each other.

Constructing nests takes a lot of time and energy, so it makes sense that ants would have preferences. While ant nests aren’t always a problem, they can turn into one quickly. If ants choose to move in too close to your home, they may try to take over. When this happens, we want to help. Our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products can help protect your home from an ant invasion.  

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