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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants

An introduction to ants

Adult Argentine Ant

In this tutorial, you will learn how to identify and manage common household ants. The tutorial also includes some basic ant anatomy and biology.

Ant facts

  • Ants belong to the insect order Hymenoptera and are close relatives of bees and wasps.
  • More than 12,000 species occur throughout the world.
  • 200 species occur in California, but fewer than a dozen are important pests.
  • Ants are common pests in homes, restaurants, hospitals, and warehouses.
  • Ants enter buildings seeking shelter, food, and water.
  • Established ant colonies are difficult to control.

Ant taxonomy

  • Class: Insecta—insects
  • Order: Hymenoptera—bees, wasps, ants
  • Family: Formicidae—ants
  • Subfamilies: Dolichoderinae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae

See also, ant identification and biology and life cycle.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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