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What Does an Ant Exterminator Do?

Ken Black
Ken Black

An ant exterminator works with a client to eliminate an ant infestation in a home or other type of building. Ants are especially common in private residences, as well as restaurants where they are attracted to food left behind. Therefore, exterminators will likely provide regular treatment of buildings prone to infestations to keep the populations down. In addition to treating the immediate problem, the exterminator is also likely to focus on prevention.

The first thing an ant exterminator will likely do is determine the type of ant causing the problem. More than 12,000 ant species exist in the world, and more than 450 live in North America itself. Fortunately for the exterminator, only a few species of ants tend to cause problems and most exterminators quickly become experts at recognizing those problem species. Identifying the ant is important in order to determine how to combat the problem. The method of treatment could be different from one species to the next.

An ant exterminator will first determine the type of ant that's causing the problem.
An ant exterminator will first determine the type of ant that's causing the problem.

As with any kind of extermination effort, an ant exterminator will also take time to understand the situation and should talk to the client about all potential concerns. If there are young children or pets in the home, then that may affect how the problem is attacked. Poisons, even in small amounts, can be harmful to young children and pets. Therefore, an extensive tour and consultation should be done before any treatment options are recommended.

If the ant identified is considered to be harmful to wood, the exterminator may look at crawl spaces and other areas of the home, if possible. This is to determine not only the level of infestation, but also to see how much damage has already been done. Not all exterminators will do this, so it may be a good idea to ask if this is a service included in the price.

After the identification and consultation, the next step in the process is to come up with a way of exterminating the ants. Choices include ingested poisons and common insecticides. The ant exterminator should explain the pros and cons of both methods. Insecticides may have the side effect of killing other problem insects, but the poisons often do not. In most cases, ingested poisons will be the preferred option, because ants are communal and share their food, meaning the entire colony can be reached.

If a colony can be discovered, the ant exterminator may offer immediate relief by spraying the entire colony with insecticide. Not all members of the colony will be killed this way, however, because some workers will be out foraging. Therefore, follow-up treatments will still be necessary in order to take care of the problem over the long term.

Discussion Comments


Carpenter ants are very common in states like New Jersey. These ants are hard to identify because

their appearance can often change. Carpenter ants are large in size, black with yellowish or reddish color. They travel throughout the structure of your house, and remove pieces of wood, and thus can cause serious damage to the wood of your house.


Nice article. Ant exterminators contribute a lot when it comes to killing ants. They help us solve our worries about ants.

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    • An ant exterminator will first determine the type of ant that's causing the problem.
      By: Henrik Larsson
      An ant exterminator will first determine the type of ant that's causing the problem.