Learning Center

About Ants

The number one nuisance pest in North America, ants make up the majority of local pest problems. Varying by species, the average colony is made up of anywhere between 300,000 to 500,000 ants. With the capability of surviving more than seven years, it’s no surprise that they are likely to take up residence in your home.

Ants are one of the most prevalent insects, with more than 10,000 different species throughout the world. Ants are social animals that live in groups, or colonies, with a colony having as many as a million ants in residence. Three types of ants live in the colony:

  • Queen: The queen is the largest ant in the colony. Her role is to reproduce, laying thousands of eggs over the course of her lifetime. Depending on its size, a colony can have one or multiple queens.
  • Female ants: Also known as worker ants, females are responsible for finding food, caring for the queen’s offspring, and maintaining and protecting the colony. Other than the queen, female ants do not reproduce.
  • Male ants: The singular role of the male, also called a drone, is to mate with the queen.

We offer specific applications for both inside and outside control.

We typically deal with two groups of carpet beetles: the varied carpet beetle and the black carpet beetle.

Varied Carpet Beetle

The most common beetle in Idaho is the varied carpet beetle. The adult is about 1/10 inch in length. The back of the insect has an irregular pattern of white, brown and yellow scales. While adults are pollen grazers, larvae feed on natural fibers and can damage carpets, furniture, and clothing. This beetle can fly rather high and enter homes through open windows.

Black Carpet Beetle

The adult black carpet beetle is black in color, oblong shaped, and ranges in size from 1/8 inch to 3/16 inch in length. Carpet beetles go through complete metamorphosis which includes egg, larvae (crawling stage), pupa (cocoon) and adult (beetle).

Larvae of the black carpet beetles are fairly distinctive. They are quite hairy and are striped tan and white in color. There may be tail bristles (hairs) visible at the back of the insect as well. Inspection commonly reveals either live larvae or sometimes cast skins of the larvae. It is this stage of the insect that actually ingests the fabric or other food.


Boxelder bugs are found throughout the United States and are approximately 1/2 inch in length. They are dark brown to black in color with conspicuous red markings on their backs. They are especially fond of feeding on the leaves, twigs and seeds of female boxelder trees. They will also feed on maple, ash and the young fruit of grapes, apples and plums.

The adults overwinter in dry protected locations. They emerge in the spring and lay small red eggs in the cracks and crevices in the bark of boxelder trees. The nymphs hatch about the time the new leaves appear. The young bugs feed on the leaves and twigs, going through five molts before becoming adults.

Boxelder bugs do little apparent damage to the boxelder tree. They become a nuisance around homes when they attempt to enter to find overwintering sites. Boxelder bugs can be very prolific during summer months. Their control usually requires multiple insecticide applications throughout the summer and early fall.