Ant identification is not easy. Ants are social insects, living in colonies that may number thousands. Ant queens lay eggs. Ant colonies of some species have only one queen while other species may have many queens. Worker ants forage for food for the colony, care for the queen and the young, and defend the colony. Workers can be one size (monomorphic) or two or more sizes (polymorphic). Colonies may reproduce by swarming or budding. Ant nests commonly consist of underground tunnels and chambers. Some species make mounds of earth or ant hills. The queens stay in the nest and the workers bring them food. It is the workers you may see in and around the structure.
To control ants, pest control specialists must choose a treatment to target the infesting species. Ants must be treated differently, depending upon the species. Compare the ants you see with the ants pictured on this site's ant pages. The symbols provide a quick reference guide for each species. A 30X hand lens will be requred to correctly ID the smaller ants.