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Facts about Ants

Ants are among the most prevalent pests in households. They are also found in restaurants, hospitals, offices, warehouses, and other buildings where they can find food and water. On outdoor (and sometimes indoor) plants, ants protect and care for honeydew-producing insects such as aphids, soft scales, whiteflies, and mealybugs, increasing damage from these pests. Ants also perform many useful functions in the environment, such as feeding on other pests (e.g., fleas, caterpillars, termites), dead insects, and decomposing tissue from dead animals.

Inside buildings, household ants feed on sugars, syrups, honey, fruit juice, fats, and meat. Long trails of thousands of ants may lead from nests to food sources, causing considerable concern among building occupants. Outdoors they are attracted to honeydew, produced by soft scales, mealybugs, and aphids. This liquid excrement contains sugars, and other nutrients. Frequently outbreaks of scales and aphids occur when ants tend them for honeydew because the ants protect scales and aphids from their natural enemies.

Ants have been living on the Earth for more than 100 million years and can be found almost anywhere on the planet. It is estimated that there are about 20,000 different species of ants. For this reason ants have been called Earth's most successful species.

Ants can bite with their pincerlike jaws, although most species rarely do. The velvety tree ant, however, is an aggressive biter. A few ants sting, including native fire ants and harvester ants, which are primarily outdoor species.

Ants build many different types of homes. Many ants build simple little mounds out of dirt or sand. Other ants use small sticks mixed with dirt and sand to make a stronger mound that offers protection from rain. Western Harvester ants make a small mound on top, but then tunnel up to 15 feet straight down to hibernate during winter. Ant mounds consist of many chambers connected by tunnels. Different chambers are used for nurseries, food storage, and resting places for the worker ants. Some ants live in wood like termites. Army ants don't make a home at all but travel in large groups searching for food.

Ants are social insects, which means they live in large colonies or groups. Some colonies consist of millions of ants. There are three types of ants in each species, the queen, the sterile female workers, and males. The male ants only serve one purpose, to mate with future queen ants and do not live very long. The queen grows to adulthood, mates, and then spends the rest of her life laying eggs. A colony may have only one queen, or there may be many queens depending on the species. Ants go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Ants have three main parts. The head, the trunk(middle section), and the rear or metasoma. All six legs are attached to the trunk. The head consists of the jaws, eyes, and antennae. The eyes of ants are made up of many lenses enabling them to see movement very well. The antennae are special organs of smell, touch, taste, and hearing. The metasoma contains the stomach and rectum. Many species of ants have poison sacks and/or stingers in the end of the metasoma for defense against their many predators. To see a diagram and learn more about ant anatomy visit our Ant Anatomy page.

Ants do not have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and Carbon Dioxide leaves through the same holes. There are no blood vessels. The heart is a long tube that pumps colorless blood from the head back to the rear and then back up to the head again. The blood kind of coats the insides of the ants and is then sucked into the tube and pumped up to the head again. The nervous system of ants consists of a long nerve cord that also runs from head to rear with branches leading to the parts of the body, kind of like a human spinal cord.

If you watch ants for any length of time you will see that they really do communicate with each other and very effectively too. Ants communicate by touching each other with their antennae. Ants also use chemicals called pheromones to leave scent trails for other ants to follow.

There are over 12,000 species of ants throughout the world. In the United States there are about 200 species but fewer than a dozen are important to us as pests. One of the most common ant occurring in and around the house and garden in is the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile. Other common ant pests include the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), the odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile), the thief ant (Solenopsis molesta), and the southern fire ant (Solenopsis xyloni). The velvety tree ant, Liometopum occidentale, nests in old wood and is a common outdoor species in landscapes.

Of great importance, is the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, which has recently gained in greater numbers throughout the southern United States. In some areas, the spread of the fire ant has been slowed by competition from the Argentine ant.

Carpenter ants, Camponotus spp., also invade buildings all over America. Although they do not eat wood as termites do, they hollow it out to nest and may cause considerable damage.

Ant Identification
Ant Parts
Correct ID is essential because different species require different controls.

Ants have 3 main body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen.

When identifying ants, it is important to know how many petiole nodes and antennal segments they have. Other parts, such as the eyes, thoracic spines, and gaster, are important when identifying an ant species.

Acrobat Ant Acrobat Ant
1/8 in. to 1/4 in.
Yellowish Brown to Dark Brown
12 / 3
Allegheny Mound Ant Allegheny Mound Ant
1/8 in. to 1/4 in.
Red and Black
12 /0
Argentine Ant Argentine Ant
1/8 in.
Dull Brown
12 / 0
Big-headed Ant Big-headed Ant
1/16 in. to 1/8 in.
Lt. Brown to Reddish Brown
12 /3
Carpenter Ant Carpenter Ant
Up to 5/8 in.
Black or Dark Reddish Brown
12 / 0
Citronella Ant Citronella Ant
1/8 in. to 1/4 in.
Golden Yellow
12 / 0
Crazy Ant Crazy Ant
1/8 in.
Dark Brown or Black
12 /0
Field Ant Field Ant
1/8 in. to 1/4 in.
Black, Brown, Red or Combo
12 /0
Fire Ant Fire Ant
1/6 in. to 1/4 in.
Reddish Brown
10 / 2
Ghost Ant Ghost Ant
Pale w/ Dark Head
12 / 0
Harvester Ant Harvester Ant
3/8 in. to 1/2 in.
Reddish Brown
12 / 0
Little Black Ant Little Black Ant
1/8 in.
12 / 3
Odorous House Ant Odorous House Ant
1/10 in.
12 / 0
Pavement Ant Pavement Ant
1/8 in.
Lt Brown to Black
12 /3
Pharaoh Ant Pharaoh Ant
1/16 in. to 1/2 in.
Pale Yellow
12 / 3
Texas Leaf Cutter Ant Texas Leaf Cutter Ant
1/8 in. to 5/8 in.
Reddish Brown
11 / 0
Thief Ant Thief Ant
1/32 in. to 1/16 in.
Yellowish Bronze
10 /2
Velvety Tree Ant Velvety Tree Ant
1/16 in. to 1/4 in.
Brown, Red and Black
12 / 0
White-footed Ant White-footed Ant
1/8 in.
Black with Pale legs
12 / 0

Acrobat Ant



Acrobat ants may nest both outdoors and indoors. Outdoor nests are most often in dead and decaying wood such as logs, stumps, dead trees limbs, firewood and hollow tree cavities. They may nest in damp soil beneath leaf litter or rocks. The small worker ants readily enter buildings through cracks around windows and doors and other openings. Trails of workers may be seen moving between the nest and a food source. Acrobat ants feed on a variety of foods, including other insects and sweets.

Ants may be excluded from the structure by sealing exterior cracks and other points of entry. Moving woodpiles, lumber, and other potential nest sites away from the structure may also aid in control.

If this ant is found nesting in wall voids, there is often a leak or other source of moisture present. Eliminating the source of the moisture will generally eliminate the infestation. In some cases, it may be advisable to replace the moisture-damaged wood. In case of a persistent infestation, it may be necessary to treat inner wall voids with silica aero-gel, boric acid, or a pyrethroid dust formulation labeled for use against ants. It may be necessary to drill holes in affected walls to apply this treatment.

Allegheny Mound Ant

allegheny mound The Allegheny Mound Ant normally lives outdoors with nests consisting of huge conical mounds, sometimes measuring nearly three feet high by six feet in diameter. Undoubtedly, some enter homes occasionally since they are fond of sweets, but normally attend honeydew-secreting insects on plants and are predaceous on other insects. Mound-building is not the only negative aspect of these ants. They inject formic acid into plants and vegetation near the mound. Small trees and shrubs within 40 to 50 feet of large mounds can be killed.

If control is necessary, the Allegheny mound ant can be controlled by direct application of a residual insecticide to the mound. A variety of products are labeled for ant control in lawns. Search the area to locate mounds. For best results, the top of the mound should be scraped away with a shovel to expose the large tunnels below it. It is safe to assume that the ants will not ignore this intrusion, so be prepared by having on long pants which have been tucked into socks or boot tops. A brush will be useful to remove ants that crawl on to you during the operation. The best active ingredient for drenching Allegheny Mound Ants (and other large mounds) is Cypermethrin. Cypermethrin is the active ingredient in Demon EC, Demon WP, Cynoff EC and Cynoff WP insecticides

Argentine Ant



Argentine ants are extremely well adapted to urbanized areas of the United States with mild climates and well-watered gardens. They pose a serious threat to native wildlife by upsetting delicate food webs. They are especially formidable due to their aggressive behavior and the enormous size of their colonies which can literally "team up" with other colonies. They follow a pre-marked pheromone "scent" trail initially laid down by scouts who were searching for goodies in your pantry. Although they prefer the outdoor life style, they primarily enter houses for food and water. They are fond of sweets, tuna, syrups (even cough syrup), juices, eggs, dead spiders and rodents, vomit, feces and just about any other organic matter they can find. Sometimes colonies develop in potted plant soil. Nests can be made of rocks, twigs, dirt, and so forth. Argentine ants relocate their nests often. Potted plants are a favorite nesting site.

Look for bait products with delayed toxicants such as hydramethylnon and sulfluramid. The toxicant must be slow-acting because if these ants die in the immediate area of the bait, other Argentine ants will avoid the area and not feed on the bait.Apply any chemicals judiciously. Precision spot treatments at points of entry into the house such as around window sills and door thresholds may be effective. Broadcast spraying for these ants is unwise. Most liquid insecticides will make the area repellent to ants. Ants will not feed on a bait that is placed in the vicinity of a repellent liquid insecticide.

Big-headed Ant

big headed


Big-headed ants are found in warmer and dryer sections of the United States, and have very similar habits to fire ants. Nests are found in exposed soil or under cover and in rotting wood. They rarely nest indoors, but may invade homes to forage for food. Big-headed ants prefer meats, greases and breads. Along foundations, big-headed ants have a habit of using the crack between the soil and the foundation to nest; flooding the crack with water will quickly reveal a nest location. Nests in potted plants are common and can result in colonies being carried inside

Control of the Big headed ant is difficult because the ant colonies are numerous and populations usually extend across property lines. At present, pest control companies are using residual spray products containing fipronil, bifenthrin, or permethrin, sometimes in conjunction with granular baits. Lawns and flowerbeds are sometimes treated with granular insecticides containing fipronil or lambda-cyhalothrin. Nest sites are often protected by being under objects, lawns and flowerbeds will probably need to be treated at least four to five times per year at maximum label rates. One-time treatments for the big headed ant will be of very limited value.

Carpenter Ant



Carpenter ants are the most common pest ant seen in homes throughout the northern United States. The main colony must have a constant source of moisture to survive, so it is usually located in dead wood outside. Indoors, a main colony will have to be associated with a water leak or an overly wet, poorly ventilated crawl space or attic. They prefer to hollow out their nests in softened wood galleries and would not have the mud-like material found in rough termite galleries.

Because Carpenter Ants forage primarily at night, inspections should be made in the evening or early morning to locate foraging trails and nest sites. Carpenter ant control can be difficult. The surest way to eliminate a carpenter ant infestation is to locate and treat the nest, or nests. Once a nest is located, it can be treated with an insecticide dust labeled for use in wall voids of homes. Pest control operators typically use insecticide dusts containing deltamethrin (DeltaDust�), cyfluthrin (Tempo� Dust) or carbaryl (Sevin�), or injectable aerosol sprays, when treating suspect wall voids or other nest sites. Carpenter ants have traditionally been difficult to lure with baits, however some new products may be worth trying. Whitmire Granular Carpenter Ant Bait, Maxforce� Carpenter Ant Gel, and Maxforce� Outdoor Ant Killer Granules have been used successfully against carpenter ants. These products should be placed outdoors along carpenter ant foraging trails.

Citronella Ant

citronella All members of the colony have a pleasant citrus smell when crushed. Citronella ants forage below the surface of the soil and are not seen on the soil surface under normal circumstances. The citronella ant nests in rotting wood, under slabs, patios, and rocks, in crawl spaces and between insulation and sub flooring. Workers in large colonies may create significant mounds of soil during the summer. In rare instances, numerous small mounds or visible openings may appear scattered throughout a lawn. Swarming reproductives emerging from under structures may be a temporary nuisance or alarm homeowners because of their superficial resemblance to termite swarmers.

Reduce ant habitat by removing rotting wood and debris from cellars, outbuildings and yard. Reproductives that emerge within a structure or crawl space will not survive because the interior habitat is not suitable for starting a new colony, so no control measures are necessary. Indoor swarms of reproductives may be removed with a vacuum cleaner. For chemical control, keep in mind that baits are not effective for this ant. Locate the area of greatest ant activity by careful inspection, paying special attention to refuse composed of paper or wood. Apply diatomaceous earth or silica gel to the entryway in accordance with the product label.

Crazy Ant



Crazy ants, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), occurs in large numbers in homes or outdoors. They often forage long distances away from their nests, so nests are often difficult to control. The name "crazy ant" arises from its characteristic erratic and rapid movement not following trails as often as other ants. The crazy ant is highly adaptable, living in both very dry and rather moist habitats. It nests in such places as trash, refuse, cavities in plants and trees, rotten wood, in soil under objects and also have been found under debris left standing in buildings for long periods of time.

Crazy ants nest outdoors so prevention of their entrance by caulking exterior penetrations and weather-stripping may aid in their control. Indoors chemical controls are based on baits, dusts, and spot treatments with residual sprays. Outdoor treatments include chemical formulations as baits, granules, dusts, and sprays. If your area or neighborhood is constantly infested with Crazy Ants, spreading Talstar Granules over your entire yard will give a 1 to 3 month residual for ants re-infesting from other areas. Since crazy ants do not respond well to baits, you should use Delta Dust or Drione Dust to eliminate interior colonies. Both dusts are good, but Delta Dust is water-proof and will do a better job killing ants that are foraging near or nesting close to water lines or other damp areas.

Field Ant

field Field ants can easily be confused with carpenter ants. Field ants nest in the soil in moderately large colonies. They are scavengers and feed on other insects and nectar from flowers. Field ants do not normally nest indoors but the workers frequently forage indoors for food and create an annoyance by their presence.

If invading workers are a problem in the house during spring or summer, a barrier spray treatment around the outside of the house is suggested. Pyrethroid or carbaryl insecticide labeled for use against ants outdoors can be used in a 5 to 10-foot wide band next to the foundation according to label directions for this treatment. There is little justification for controlling winged swarmers in the fall of the year. However, direct nest treatment with any of the insecticides listed above may reduce the annoyance. Multiple treatments may be necessary.

Fire Ant



A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets. Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants only bite to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom (piperidine). For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire - hence the name fire ant - and the aftereffects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive individuals. When these pesky critters invade an area, they do it with a vengeance. There will be enormous numbers of them which can dramatically reduce populations of native ants, other insects, and even ground-nesting wildlife.

The violent death of a fireant will emit an alarm pheromone that in high concentration sends other fireants in the vicinity into attack frenzy, but in lower amounts, attracts them. A few fireants use what is referred to as propaganda pheromones to confuse their enemies. The red imported fire ant builds mounds in almost any type of soil, but prefers open, sunny areas such as pastures, parks, lawns, meadows and cultivated fields. The mound has no opening in the center like most ant mounds.

You have two types of fireant control that can be incorporated to both keep them out and kill off any nests currently active. The two control methods are referred to as Baiting and Drenching. BAITING should be done when you are in a region which is prone to getting Fire Ant nests. Baiting works best as a preventive treatment and if done 3-4 times a year, no new nests will be able to form. If you already have nests, you will have DRENCH them for quick and complete control of existing mounds. DRENCHING should be done when you currently have active nests which need to be eliminated immediately. We recommended Conquer Inseciticide as a drenching insecticide for fire ants since the low vapor pressure forms alot of fumes making the red fire ants die easily. You would use several gallons for large colonies or 1/2 gallon to two gallons on smaller colonies. Another preventive application we know works well is to use some CYFLUTHRIN GRANULES as a pretreatment.

Ghost Ant



The ghost ant is thought to be so named due to the fact that the legs and abdomen of the insect look transparent, with only the head and thorax being dark brown in colour. Primarily found outdoors, ghost ants hard to find due to their size. Nests are usually in trees, dead limbs, under and inside logs, firewood, under rocks and plant cavities. Indoors they have been found in Kitchen cabinets, and bathroom vanities, as they are attracted to high moisture areas. You may also find them in wall voids and electrical outlets around sinks.

This species may be difficult to control and ant baits may not be effective against it. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Where the colonies cannot be found, baits may be attempted; however, several baits may be required before positive results are seen. Spraying as a stand-alone method usually fails when dealing with Ghost Ants. You need to also use a good insecticide dust, applying it inside wall voids, cracks, crevices, entry points where you know or suspect ghost ant activity. Because of their need (or fondness) for moisture, you must use Delta Dust.

Harvester Ant

harvester Harvester Ants can be aggressive and have a painful sting that spreads through the lymph nodes, sometimes causing reactions, especially in those allergic to their venom. Red harvester ant nests are characterized by a lack of foliage and small pebbles surrounding a hole that is usually at grade. Worker ants remove vegetation in circular areas or craters around nests. They do not invade homes or structures.

Destruction of their nests and habitat through regular discing and mowing may eliminate them without resorting to use of insecticides. Although any insecticide registered to control �ants� can be used to control harvester ants, few are registered specifically to control these species. Harvester ant colonies can be quickly eliminated using Amdro� Pro Fire Ant Bait containing 0.73 percent hydramethylnon. Individual colonies can be treated using 2 to 5 tablespoons of product scattered around the colony�s central opening. In larger areas, the product can be broadcast at a rate of 1 to 1 1/2 pounds product per acre (2 to 3 ounces per 5,000 square feet) using a suitable application device such as a hand-cranked seeder.

Little Black Ant

Little black These are the common house ants which nest in woodwork, masonry, soil and rotted wood. They feed on sweets, meats, vegetables, honeydew and other insects. Nests in the ground are detected by the very small craters of fine soil. On occasion, a colony or part of a colony may establish itself inside a wall, behind brick veneer or beneath the carpet by a doorway.

Infestations of little black ants often require patience and skill to follow the trails back to the nest. The type of treatment used depends on the location of the nest. Dusting, using DeltaDust in every one of the void spaces of exterior ground-floor walls and any of the infested interior walls along with barrier treatment utilizing Demand CS is very effective. Baiting along the trails is very effective as well and should be done to further control the Little Black Ants.

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House


Odorous house ants are most easily identified by the coconut odor that is produced when their bodies are crushed. It is from this odor that they get their name. Odorous house ants are very opportunistic and can nest in many different places both indoors and out. Outdoors, odorous house ant nests are usually shallow and may be found just underneath the soil surface. Although these ants do not bite or sting, they are a persistent nuisance pest once they begin foraging indoors in large numbers.

If the nest cannot be located, then baiting is the preferred method for controlling an odorous house ant infestation. An ant bait is a sugar or protein based food source that is combined with a toxicant. It is important when using baits that you do not use a chemical spray to kill trailing ants. Spraying the ants will prevent them from returning to the nest and sharing the bait with the other ants. If colonies are found nesting in a wall void(s), they can be treated by drilling a 1/8 to 1/4inch hole in the immediate area and injecting an insecticidal dust directly into the void.

Pavement Ant



The pavement ant earns its name well, building nests beneath and along the sides of pavement: patios, driveways, sidewalks, foundations of homes. These pests can also be found inside of homes (and other structures) in wall voids, beneath toilets and water heaters. They also will readily nest in and beneath insulation in walls and attics. Outdoors, you will see pavement ants nesting beneath mulch, landscaping, stones and logs, and also along curbs. Pavement Ants are active foragers who will set up trails along baseboards, beneath the edges of carpets, beneath toilets and other areas inside a structure. Worker ants will also readily move to different rooms and floors via plumbing lines. These lines not only provide a "highway" but also entry points, moisture source and (in cold seasons) heat.

Colonies located in wall voids can be treated by injecting a professional insecticide dust such as Delta Dust or Drione Dust; Delta Dust (being water-proof) is best for killing ants which live or forage close to plumbing lines or other areas associated with moisture. Locate and drench all visible, outdoor ant beds. Products containing either Cypermethrin (Cynoff, Demon, Cyper Eight, Viper) or Bifenthrin (Talstar) work best. These products can also be used in your indoor control of pavement ants, roaches, spiders and other household pests.

Pharaoh Ant



Pharaoh ants have become a serious nuisance pest in hospitals, rest homes, apartment dwellings, hotels, grocery stores, food establishments and other buildings. They feed on a wide variety of foods including jellies, honey, shortening, peanut butter, corn syrup, fruit juices, baked goods, soft drinks, greases, dead insects and even shoe polish. n hospitals, foraging ants have been found in surgical wounds, I.V. glucose solutions, sealed packs of sterile dressing, soft drinks, water in flower displays and water pitchers. These ants are capable of mechanically transmitting diseases and contaminating sterile materials. Some feel Staphylococcus and Psuedomonas infections, occurring from time to time in hospitals, are associated with these ants.

Nests are often so small it can be contained in a thimble, located between sheets of paper, in clothing or laundry, furniture, foods, etc. Nests usually occur in wall voids, under floors, behind baseboards, in trash containers, under stones, in cement or stone wall voids, in linens, light fixtures, etc. They prefer dark, warm areas near hot water pipes and heating tapes, in bathrooms, kitchens, intensive care units, operating rooms, etc. Pharaoh ants are usually much harder to control than other ants because of their ability to disperse. There may be dozens or hundreds of colonies in a single hospital and when a few colonies are missed during control, populations will quickly rebound. About 90 percent of the colony remains hidden in the nest so even if 10 percent of the colony is killed by a residual pesticide, the remaining reservoir of ants is enormous. Conventional contact pesticide applications especially repellent products such as pyrethrins may spread infestations to new areas with multiple colonies blossoming within the structure. These ants will avoid certain pesticides. Control is difficult and often long term (months to years), depending on the building size, wall voids, etc., especially in hospitals and food plants.

In areas of active colonies, treat walls and ceiling voids through cracks and crevices with non-repellent boric acid dust and make bait placements. Keep the ants in the area long enough to get the slow-acting toxicants to the main colony where the workers, larvae and queens are poisoned. Research has shown that it is best to use bait placement only where active ant trails are found. This assures feeding since some ants have not been able to find the bait when only one inch away from the bait stations. Applications of bendiocarb (Ficam), which is odorless, can give fast eradication of Pharaoh ants if treatments are thorough. Treat around the perimeter of the structure with Maxforce Granular Ant Bait. This first step is necessary when large numbers of worker ants have been observed on the exterior of the building. Treat the exterior of the building with Suspend SC or Demand CS to prevent outside workers from entering and re-infesting indoors. This step can be used alone or as a follow-up to using Maxforce Granular.

Texas Leaf Cutter Ant

Leaf Cutter The Texas leaf cutting ant, Atta texana (Buckley), has several common names including the town ant, cut ant, parasol ant, fungus ant and night ant. Leaf cutting ants live in large colonies of up to 2 million. The name comes from their habit of cutting leaves from a variety of plants. During the summer, leaf cutting ants forage almost exclusively at night. The rest of the year, foraging takes place during the day, when air temperatures range between 45 to 80 degrees F. Leaf fragments are carried umbrella-like, over the head--hence the common name, "parasol ant". Hundreds of ants can be seen picking up and carrying off the piles of leaf fragments that accumulate under the trees or bushes "under attack." At the nest entrance, ants chew the fragments into small pieces that are better suited for their underground fungus gardens.

Because leaf cutter ants only eat the fungus they cultivate, they do not respond well to most ant baits. . Although plants can be protected temporarily using powder or granular formulations of contact insecticides like acephate (Orthene�), carbaryl (Sevin�) or permethrin, these treatments must be reapplied frequently. Also, plant applications do not eliminate underground colonies. The large size and complexity of leaf cutter ant nests makes it difficult to obtain good control with dust, liquid and granular insecticides. A special formulation of hydramethylnon, Amdro� Ant Block, is currently the only widely available product that is labeled for control of leaf cutting ants.

Thief Ant

Thief Thief ants are a group of ants within the genus Solenopsis that make their living by constructing a nest next to the nests of other ants. They then tunnel into the nest of the neighboring ants and make their way to the brood chambers where larvae, pupae, and eggs are kept. Once there, the thief ant foragers live up to their name by carrying off the eggs and brood of their hosts. The stolen brood becomes the food of the thief ants. Some thief ants (those in the S. molesta species group) may also occasionally become household pests, living in nests constructed in cracks, under floors, and behind baseboards from which they forage on greasy scraps that they find in the house.

Thief ants are able to effectively steal the brood of their hosts and retreat to their own burrows for several reasons. First, they are extremely small. The tunnels that they use to infiltrate the host nests are small enough that the host defenders cannot persue them. Second, these ants are ferocious fighters with strong mandibles and a nasty sting. Finally, the venom of thief ants is, itself, a powerful ant repellent and the theif ants use it to make the portions of the host ant's nest that they invade noxious to the hosts.

Thief ants can be difficult to control. Often they are mistaken for Pharaoh ants; unfortunately, the baits used to control the pahroah ant may not be effective for thief ants. Thief ants tend to prefer foods with higher protein and fat content. Suggested Control Products are Advance Carpenter Ant Bait, Drax Ant Gel and Demand CS.

Velvety Tree Ant

Velvety Tree The velvety tree ant is named by its velvety abdomen and habit of nesting in trees. This ant lacks a stinger however can inflict a painful bite, and can squirt an offensive secretion onto its enemy from an anal gland. Crushing the velvety tree ant produces a rotten coconut smell similar to that emitted by the odorous house ant.They do also nest underneath stones, and like the carpenter ant occasionally nest in wooden material within homes, depositing telltale wood shavings as they excavate. They are not, however, as damaging as carpenter ants. The workers forage mainly during the evening and at night, traveling quite some distance from the nest. Trails may extend several hundred feet.

Good pest-proofing of a home must be maintained to avoid infestations. Remove decayed portions of trees and branches away from the house. A sweet bait such as Drax Liquidator may be useful. Sometimes it can be necessary to apply a treatment to an infested tree. Treat them much like you would a carpenter ant, but remember to be careful as their bite hurts.

White Footed Ant

White Footed Ants do not actually have white feet; their tibia and tarsi are light yellow. The white footed ant structural invasion is not an experience you want to have. You have to truly see it to believe it. The white footed ant is without a doubt the most invasive ant in Florida, today. Once they are inside, they are close to impossible to eradicate. They invade wall voids, outlets, appliances, pantries and just about every nook and cranny you can imagine.

Laboratory tests have shown baits to be the only effective management method to date for White Footed Ant control. No surface or residuals treatments with liquid insecticides have yet been found to be effective for controlling these ants. Management has only been accomplished by treating infested homes exclusively with baits containing borates. Most Important: Do not spray or spread insecticides inside or outside your home. This alerts the ants to danger and causes them to stop their feeding and begin to reproduce in larger numbers.




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