There are over 10,000 species of ants worldwide. In Pennsylvania, there are around 10 common types of ants you may encounter on your property.

Carpenter Ants

Of all the ants you’re likely to encounter, carpenter ants can be the most destructive. Carpenter ants are sometimes mistaken for termites. Both types of insects live in colonies and excavate wood. Carpenter ants, however, do not eat the wood as they excavate it. If you have carpenter ants, you’ll likely find wood particles that have been dumped around cracks in the siding, behind moldings, and around your basement, attic, or porch.

AppearanceReddish, brown, or black with large mandibles (or jaws)
Length¼” to ½” (large compared to other ants)
Where You Can Find Them InsideCarpenter ants tend to be attracted to damp or decaying wood. They have also been known to nest in softer materials, like foamed insulation board. They may also nest in girders, joists, porch pillars, sills, wall studs, and around window and door casings.
FoodSugary liquids like honey, syrup, or juice or meats and fatty foods
Extra FactsWhen in their natural habitat, carpenter ants help to aid in the decomposition of trees.
They are often more active at night.
They have been known to form satellite colonies in houses, with parent colonies outside.


Carpenter ants can cause cosmetic and structural damage to property. They may also contaminate food.


You can prevent carpenter ants from entering your home or business by keeping any wood or wood waste away from the building. You should also keep all exterior wood surfaces painted and sealed. If any wood is in contact with soil, it’s best to use pressure treated lumber. Fix any drainage issues and ventilate crawl spaces and porch undersides to reduce moisture.

Insecticides and carpenter ant baits can help to manage carpenter ants. If your home or business has been invaded by carpenter ants, call Wildlife Enterprises, LLC for help.

Other common types of ants in Pennsylvania

Sugar Ants (also called Odorous House Ants)
AppearanceBrown or black; segmented; oval shaped with antennae
Length1/18” to 1/16”
Where You Can Find Them InsideSugar ants are attracted to moisture and sugar. They are most often found in kitchens and bathrooms.
Food SourcesSugar ants like sweet and greasy foods.
Extra FactsThey are sometimes called Odorous House Ants because they give off a rotten, coconut-like smell when they are crushed. Sugar ants do not pose a health risk to humans, but they can contaminate food and are considered a nuisance because of this.
Pharoah Ants
AppearancePharoah ants are light yellow with black and red markings. They have segmented antennae.
LengthLess than 1/16”
Where You Can Find Them InsidePharoah ants like warm, humid areas.
Food SourcesSweets and dead insects
Extra FactsBecause Pharoah ants are so small, they can be difficult to control. They are known to spread bacteria. They can be a problem for hospitals, nursing homes, and healthcare facilities if they invade.
Little Black Ants
AppearanceBlack and shiny
Where You Can Find Them InsideLittle black ants can be found in kitchens and pantries.
Food SourcesSweets
Extra FactsLittle black ants are common household pests. They can fit through tiny cracks and crevices because of their small size.
Thief Ants (also called Grease Ants)
AppearanceThief ants vary in color from light yellow to brown.
Where You Can Find Them InsideThief ants tend to stay around kitchens and pantries.
Food SourcesFatty and greasy foods
Extra FactsBecause thief ants are so tiny, they can be difficult to control. They’re also known for slipping into sealed containers. Thief ants tend to nest near other ant colonies.
Red Imported Fire Ants
AppearanceReddish brown
Length1/8” to ¼”
Where You Can Find Them InsideRed imported fire ants are typically found outside. They create noticeable mounds in the dirt in open areas.
Food SourcesPlants, insects, and sometimes even small animals
Extra FactsRed imported fire ants are not native to Pennsylvania, but they have been introduced to some areas. They are considered aggressive and can sting if disturbed. The stings are painful and may cause some allergic reactions. Fire ants are considered opportunistic omnivores—they are not picky eaters.
Pavement Ants
AppearanceLight brown or black with lighter colored appendages
Length1/8” to ¼”
Where You Can Find Them InsidePavement ants tend to live outside near driveways, patios, sidewalks, and building foundations.
Food SourcesFoods with sugar, fat, and protein
Extra FactsPavement ants typically stay outside, but they may come inside if they are searching for food. They can sting if they feel threatened.
Acrobat Ants
AppearanceLight to dark brown
Length1/8” to ¼”
Where You Can Find Them InsideLike carpenter ants, acrobat ants may keep their parent colony outside and create satellite colonies inside. They tend to look for damaged wood or holes in walls.
Food SourcesHoneydew, insects, sweet food and food with high protein (like meats)
Extra FactsAcrobat ants get their name from the position they take when feeling threatened. They will raise their abdomens over their thoraxes, performing a sort of somersault.
Citronella Ants
AppearanceLight to dark brown
Length¼” to 3/8” (large compared to other ants)
Where You Can Find Them InsideCitronella ants typically nest outside in the soil near concrete structures or building foundations.
Food SourcesHoneydew and flower nectar
Extra FactsCitronella ants get their name from the lemon-like smell they emit when they are crushed. They do not pose a threat to humans, but they can be alarming due to their size.

If you have ants invading your home or business, give Wildlife Enterprises, LLC a call. We can assess the situation, look for entry points, and help you create a management strategy to remove the ants and keep them away. Call us today to get started.

Ants crawling on a cookie crumb in the grass