Ant Control


When ants become active at your business or facility, often the first impulse is to respond with a show of force – for example, by attacking columns of invading ants with whatever sprays and baits are commercially available. As pest professionals who have many years of experience dealing with ant problems in commercial facilities and other places of business, we’ve learned that what works much more effectively than brute force is to address the problem systematically and strategically, using proven integrated pest management (IPM) principles.

Clark’s commercial pest technicians are extensively trained to inspect first and identify the specific species at hand – as not all ants are the same, and the treatment that works to control one species may not work to control another, and sometimes can make a problem much worse. Then, based on deep knowledge of that species, we will design a program that not only controls the ant colony, but addresses whatever underlying conditions are attracting the ants and are enabling them to thrive at your facility or place of business. Putting this total picture together and making it work for you is what Clark Pest Control does best.

Three areas your ant control technician will address:

  1. Exclusion: How are ants getting in? And: what can be done to keep them out? We step back to take in the big picture, then zero in on the details to find all the points where ants are getting in so that their routes indoors can be blocked.
  2. Sanitation: What is it inside your facility or place of business that is attracting ants? We figure out what’s drawing the target pest inside and then advise you on housekeeping practices and corrective actions you can put into action that will make your interior spaces less attractive to these invasive social insects.
  3. Environmental modification: What outdoor factors create conditions conducive to ant activity? Your facility or place of business is not an island, and the nearby environment can affect it – for example, weeds that provide harborage, or tree or bush branches touching your building that provide a highway for ants, or foliage that attracts a particular ant species that’s causing the problem (example: plants that attract honeydew-producing aphids, which in turn attract Argentine ants), or an ant colony located on a neighboring property. Our highly trained technicians will expertly analyze the environment surrounding your facility or place of business and will advise you on practical measures that can be taken to stop ant activity.

Treating ants is one of the many commercial pest services that Clark Pest Control offers to protect our customers. Clark offers a full spectrum of pest protection services for your business, from bird, cockroach, rodent, and other pest management services that can be customized to meet the specific needs of various facilities, businesses, or institutions, to grounds management strategies that include weed control, lawn and landscape fertilization, tree and shrub care.

For professional commercial ant control and treatment, call Clark Pest today at 1-800-882-0374 , fill out the form below or click here to find a Clark ant exterminator near you. Send ants elsewhere – just not to your facility or place of business.

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Some commonly encountered ants in commercial accounts

  • Argentine ant (Linepithema humile): These outdoor, mostly ground-nesting ants are the most commonly encountered species in California; they also extend into western Nevada. They are 1/8-inch long and dull brown in color. Unlike most other species, Argentine ant colonies can contain millions of ants and have multiple queens, and the colonies are tied together into massive supercolonies, one of which stretches over most of California and into Nevada and Arizona. Their nests can be found outdoors, in soil, and under wood, debris, slabs, mulch, and in branches and cavities of trees and shrubs. Argentine ants are drawn to sweets and oils indoors, and will tend – or “ranch” – honeydew-producing insects like aphids on trees and plants outside. Along with sanitation, exclusion, and environmental modification mentioned above, sponge ant trails with soapy water to eliminate pheromone markers and inspect (and, if infested, remove) potted plants.
  • Odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile): These ants are dark brown or black in color, shiny, and are 1/8-inch long. When crushed, they emit a noticeable odor. Their colonies are large, with up to 10,000 workers and multiple queens. Odorous house ants feed on living and dead insects, and are drawn to sweets and honeydew-producing insects (aphids, scale insects). They will nest outdoors in soil under wood, rocks, stones, or debris, and indoors in wall voids and around pipes and water heaters. Exclusion measures coupled with indoor sanitation and outdoor environment modification like keeping ants off nearby trees and bushes can help.
  • Carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.): Worker ants of this wood-destroying species range from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size and are black or black and red in color. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not feed on wood, but they can hollow out structural wood to make nests, weakening those structures. They live in colonies numbering up to 10,000 ants, usually with one queen but sometimes more, which can be found outdoors in tree stumps, wood piles, or fence posts, with satellite colonies – as many as 20 – in other nearby places, sometimes indoors in wet wood, typically doors, window frames, and subflooring. These ants are active at twilight or nighttime, they feed on living or dead insects, and prefer wet or damp wood. To help reduce in-facility ant activity, eliminate places where wood is damp by fixing leaks and moisture sources, block all entrance points, and trim trees or bushes away from contact with buildings.
  • Velvety tree ant (Liometopum occidentale): Velvety tree ant workers range from 1/8 to 1/4 inch in size and have a brownish-black head, red thorax, and velvety black abdomen. Their colonies contain 40,000-60,000 ants, and can be found in dead wood – stumps, dead branches, logs, and firewood. They are frequently found in oak and pine forests, often nesting in crevices in in oak, alder, elm, cottonwood, and creosote, in soil, and in the bark of dead trees. Velvety tree ants feed on other insects, and will tend or “ranch” honeydew-producing insects. Practice exclusion and sanitation measures, and use environmental modification where it is necessary.
  • Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) These tiny ants are 1/16-inch long and yellow to orange in color, and sometimes are confused with the similarly tiny thief ant. Pharaoh ants eat other insects, both living and dead, and will feed on sweets, fats, and proteins. They travel in established trails, sometimes on pipes and electrical wires, and are drawn to moisture. Pharaoh ant colonies are large – up to 300,000 workers with multiple queens – and nests are found outdoors in debris and cracks and crevices, and indoors in wall and cabinet voids, along wall-floor intersections, and other surfaces. Colonies are highly mobile, and will move if disturbed or split when the colony grows too large. Exclusion measures coupled with indoor sanitation and outdoor environment modification like locating and having nests treated can help. Do not use insecticide sprays on pharaoh ant colonies, as doing that may cause the colony to split into multiple new colonies.
  • Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta) These tiny ants are 1/32-inch long and yellow to light brown in color, and sometimes are confused with the similarly tiny pharaoh ant. Thief ants feed on grease, greasy foods, proteins, dead insects, dead rodents, and sometimes on sweets, and are known to raid other ant nests to steal food and larvae – hence the name. They travel in set trails in cabinets, on walls, along baseboards, along branches, and along electrical wiring, and sometimes can be found inside electrical boxes. Their nests are small, often with multiple queens, and can be found outdoors under rocks or decaying wood, and indoors in cabinets and wall voids, and along baseboards. Exclusion measures coupled with indoor sanitation and outdoor environment modification can help keep them out of your business.
  • Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) Pavement ants are 3/16-inch long and are dark brown to black in color. These ants have largely been outcompeted by Argentine ants, but they still can be found; unlike Argentine ants and some other species, pavement ant colonies usually have only one queen, and ants from one colony will engage in huge wars with adjacent pavement ant colonies. These ants feed on honeydew, insects, sweets, fruit, and greasy food, and will feed on pet food both indoors and outdoors. Nests are often found near water, in lawns, under boards, stones, and wood, along sidewalks, baseboards, and foundations. Pavement ants travel in orderly lines, often at night, to access food, sometimes along pipes, cables, and wires. Exclusion measures coupled with indoor sanitation and outdoor environment modification can help keep them out of your business.
  • Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta): These stinging ants can range from 1/16 to 1/5 inch in length and are reddish colored with shiny dark brown abdomen. They feed on live insects, dead animals, and honeydew, and will forage indoors for sweet foods, proteins, and fats. Their colonies contain up to 500,000 workers with multiple queens, and colonies can bud or split. They nest in mounds (up to 18 inches high and 24 inches across), either in open ground or under lawns, usually in sunny places near a water source, and sometimes in buildings, wall voids, crawl spaces, pipes, or under carpets, or around trees and potted plants, and their nesting can damage plants, lawns, and electrical fixtures. Their nests have multiple openings, through which a torrent of ants can issue whenever the colony senses a threat, and they can be dangerous – they have been known to attack and sting en masse when threatened, and can be deadly to pets and to people allergic to their venom. Red imported fire ants are a much bigger problem in the American southeast, and they were first identified in southern California in 1998; they also have appeared in the San Joaquin Valley. They are considered a quarantine pest by the state of California, and the state Department of Food & Agriculture operates a toll-free number (888-434-7326) to call if you suspect their presence. Some public vector control districts have active fire ant control programs, but not all. This pest is a definite red flag as a candidate for DIY attempts at eradication, and should always be left to pest management professionals to control.
  • Southern fire ant (Solenopsis xyloni): These stinging insects, sometimes called California fire ants, are 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length, with amber-colored heads and thorax and a darker or black abdomen; they are covered with tiny golden hairs. They feed on sweet foods, grease, insects, proteins, seeds, almonds, young tree bark, and honeydew. Their colonies can contain up to 10,000 workers and multiple queens, with ground nests in small mounds near moisture, and also in wood and under rocks and boards, or indoors in wall voids, crawl spaces, and under carpets. They are active in morning and early evening, and if their nest is disturbed they may attack en masse and sting, although they are not as dangerous as red imported fire ants. Even so, it isn’t a good idea to attempt to control southern fire ants, a task better left to pest management professionals who can properly identify them and take appropriate measures.
This is a photo of a pair of pavement ants.