Ants

ANTS

 

Most of us recognize an ant. Only adults are normally seen, the legless larvae are been cared for deep within their nest. They eat many foods, but sweets and grease are the preferred foods.

Most species have a winged stage that emerges and disperses once a year.

Ants experience complete metamorphosis so their life cycle include egg, larva, pupa and adult.

 

CARPENTER ANTS

Carpenter ants are serious pests of wood used in structures. These insects do not eat wood, but hollow it out to produce galleries for nesting. In the wild, this habit is beneficial because it helps recycle the nutrients in dead wood.

They prefer wood that has been "softened up" by decay fungi.

The important features to know are that carpenter ants have one hump between the thorax and the abdomen on a structure called the pedicel. The other feature which is the most important, is that the thorax is evenly rounded when viewed from the side.

These ants also create a satellite colonies away from the main colony which usually contain  workers, larvae, and pupae, but not the queen.

Carpenter ants eat a wide range of foods, honeydew, dead insects, plant and fruit juices, sweets, eggs, meats, cheese, and food grease. Workers may wander as far as 300 feet from the nest in search for food.

The best indication of carpenter ants nest is the presence of course sawdust piles containing insect body parts.      

 

Pharaoh Ants

This ants is a mini-plague of structures, especially hospitals. It spread infection as it feeds or drink from open wounds, the sleeping mouths of infants or enters intravenous bottles that are attached to a patient.

They eat a wide range of items like syrups, fruits, meats and dead insects. The colony can become large, containing many queens and thousands of workers. The queens and males have wings, but cannot sustain flight. Pharaoh ants establish new nest by carrying eggs, larvae and pupae to a new location by the workers.

Management of Pharaoh ants must be done knowledgeably, otherwise if the wrong methods are used the problem will become worse.  

 

Nuisance Ants

The workers of this ants are brown to black with a grayish sheen and while foraging, the workers run around in what appears to be aimless and mindless patterns. It is this wild behavior that earned this ant its name " Crazy Ants".

It is easily recognized because its legs and antenna are extremely long compared to its size. They will nest in crevices, bark mulch, leaf litter, rotten plants, under above-ground swimming pool, under floors and inside wall voids.

The crazy ants feeds on animal material, other insects, sweets and kitchen scraps. They are predator of fleas, fly larvae and adults.  

 

Large Yellow Ants

This common ground nesting ant is also called the citronella ant because of a distinct lemon or citronella odor that is released when it is crushed. The colony produces winged reproductive which swarm out of the nest from cracks and crevices in mid to late summer.

Upset residents sometimes mistake the winged ant (swarmers) for termites. They usually nest under logs or stones and occasionally will carry soil into a structure and annoy the occupants.

They do not damage the structure or carry disease.

 

Pavement Ants

These ants are among the most common ones in structures and often come up from under a slab. Pavement ants nest under pavement or rocks, using cracks or expansion joints to enter and exit the nest.

Worker are dark brown  to black body; the legs and antennae are lighter in color than the body. The thorax has a par of spines, and the head and thorax have many parallel ridges running the length of the body.

The are not naturally aggressive, but workers can bite and sting. Pavement ants travel through pipe channels to other parts of the building. They feed on meat, bread, cheese, nuts and grease.

 

Nuisance Ants Control

Control measures should be based on four basic principle:

1) Identify the ant and locate the colony.

2) Remove or correct conditions contributing to the infestation.

3) Establish barriers to prevent the ant from entering the structure.

4) Treat the colony if necessary

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