Ants: Southern California’s #1 Pest

Ants have become a nightmare for Southern California homeowners. Their colonies are huge, and once they get into your home, it’s quite the challenge to get rid of them.

Ants have managed to surpass many of the more common pests like cockroaches, spiders, and rodents—primarily because of their numbers. Kill 100, and 100 more will take their place. These guys don’t stop, and they can leave California homeowners feeling defeated. Often, people will simply endure these critters until the “season” passes. But there’s a better way. Hiring a professional is the answer, but it doesn’t stop there. 

We’re going to touch on some of the most common ants in Southern California, as well as provide some tips on how to “prevent” them from entering your home in the first place.

Colonies can consist of over 3,000 workers, and once they get into your home, the damage can be extensive.

Common Southern California Ants

• Carpenter Ant
• Harvester Ant
• Argentine Ant
• Little Black Ant
• Southern Fire Ant

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants are one of the biggest species of ants in Southern California. They can do a lot of damage to homes. Their food sources include insects, sweets, meats, cakes, and grease. Their colonies can consist of over 3,000 workers, and once they get into your home, the damage can be extensive.

Prevention Tips: Carpenter ants are attracted to wet or moldy wood. They will make their way into homes through cracked windows, plumbing, tree limbs that are touching the home, or electrical penetrations.

To help prevent Carpenter Ants from entering your home, keep your property clear of wet (or dry) wood piles, prevent tree branches from touching the home, and seal off possible entry paths around electrical outlets on your home’s exterior.

Harvester Ant

Harvester Ants have become a real problem for Southern California residents in recent years. They are known for their stings, as well as their habit of destroying vegetation around their nests, causing sporadic bare spots in residential lawns. There are 22 species of Harvester Ants, California Harvester Ants being among them.

Prevention Tips: Harvester Ants are drawn to flat and partially shaded lawns where they build their mounds. Seeds are a major part of the Harvester Ant diet, so gardens and bird feeders may attract these little guys. Harvester Ants typically avoid indoor areas, but they will sometimes enter homes by accident through cracks and openings. We recommend sealing off possible entry paths around your home.

Argentine Ant

Argentine Ants are also a problem for Southern California homeowners. They’re attracted to moist areas such as under debris and piles of wood. When the weather cools down in the fall, Argentine Ants enter homes through cracks and gaps around the foundation.

Argentine Ant nests have multiple queens, so they breed and spread rapidly—creating huge colonies that can reach into the hundreds of thousands of workers.

Prevention Tips: Keep Argentine Ants out of your home can be an ongoing process, even with the help of professionals, but there are ways to reduce or even prevent infestations.

Make sure to keep lids on trash cans secure and tight. Also, keep floors and countertops free of food particles and sweets. Lastly, Argentine Ants are attracted to water, so eliminate standing water in flower beds and pots.

Little Black Ant

Smaller than most other ant species, Little Black Ants can be a real nuisance for Southern California residents. They are highly adaptable creatures that build their nests in dark, isolated areas under rocks, decaying trees, logs, and inside cement cracks. They also like to build nests inside a home’s woodwork, baseboards, and under carpeting. Their colonies usually consist of two or more queens, and their sting season is between June and August.

Prevention Tips: Keep your home free of meats, sweets, seeds, greasy foods, and other insects—alive (or dead).

Southern Fire Ant

The Southern Fire Ant, also known as the Californian Fire Ant, is a native to southern California. They eat just about everything, including seeds and honeydew from other insects. Southern Fire Ants will nest in the ground, often in close proximity to a kitchen. They can gain access to indoor areas through power inputs and outlets, breaker panels, water boxes, and electrical junctions.

Prevention Tips: Similar to the Little Black Ant, the Southern Fire Ant likes meats, sweets, seeds, greasy foods, and other insects. They are also known to be attracted to soiled clothing. So if you have young children, be sure to keep soiled clothing off the floor.


So there you have it; five of Southern California’s most common ant species. This is by no means the entire list of ant pests, but one thing’s for sure—California is no stranger to ants. Of all the pests, ants are one of the most difficult to get rid of, so we highly recommend professional assistance.

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