In Defense of House Ants

So you have ants in your house. You want to get rid of them, but you don’t know how. What can you do? There is only one surefire solution: Love your house ants.

If you live in a North American cool temperate region, you are blessed by a community of ants that are fairly innocuous. The fire ant has not yet reached so far north, and the bullet ant is but a distant fairy tale. The worst pain these friendly “pests” inflict on their human neighbors tends to be crawling on skin and maybe a little nip here or there.

Consider Camponotus pennsylvanicus, a common species of carpenter ant. This friendly giant has no sting, and really just wants to be left alone. Plus, it’s the first North American ant to have been scientifically described. You like North America, right?

Photograph by Alex Wild

Consider Tapinoma sessile, the odorous house ant. This ant smells like bleu cheese when you crush it. No sting, only cheese. You like cheese, right?

Photograph by Alex Wild

Consider Tetramorium “species E”, the pavement ant. These little gals are so widespread along the pavement in cities and suburbs that they are often the first ants that young children ever encounter. They are nature’s way of promoting scientific discovery. You like science education, right?

Photograph by Alex Wild

You live among ecological wonders and six-legged bleu cheese machines. So the next time you see an ant inside your home, don’t pick up a shoe or bring out the broom. Bend a knee and marvel at the tiny life that has marched along the face of the Earth for millions of years and now deigns to grace your home.