Ants can be a real pain in the head when you see them crawling around your house especially on surfaces that you does not want them to be seen. Often appear during spring season, these tiny insects are considered to be the most common pests that are found in our homes. They might be tolerable in some instances because they appear and just leave your house eventually. But when they are with their colony, form a line, and feed on your left over food, well that is a different story now. You have to exterminate and not allow these tiny pests invade your home.
Sure, there are lots of home remedies, ant traps, ant repellants, and ant killers available, but is it good to know who your enemy is, right? Identifying your opponents’ characteristics will be an advantage for you will know their weaknesses and how to get rid of them. So open your minds now and be prepared to learn because we just have the complete and most comprehensive information about these household pests. Get to know everything from carpenter ants with wings, or simply just winged ants in general. One thing is for sure, after reading this; you will know how to distinguish whether it is ants with wings or termites. Nevertheless, this is your best guide in be in familiar with ants.
In general, ants can be divided into three main classes: the workers, males, and queens.
Workers – The worker class of an ant colony ranges from about 1/20 inch long up to ? inch long in size. These are wingless female ants that vary in size and are grouped into two classifications: major (large) workers or minor (small) workers. The ant’s body is composed of three distinctive parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen, which is in all cases the same with all insects body parts. Interestingly, they have a pair of antenna on the head which they use mostly in communicating and using it as vision in addition to their compound eye. Between the thorax and abdomen is a part that is constricted, and may have one or two nodes or bumps is the petiole.
Males – Winged ants to be considered, these male ants are the reproductive members of the colony along with their queen. When it comes to size, they are the same or even larger compared to the worker ants. They also have a small head that comes with large eyes. Their main purpose is to mate with the new queens to reproduce new colony, and they live in just a small span of time.
Queens – Queens are mostly two to three times larger compared to workers and logically are the largest member of the colony. In appearance, queens have wings which break off after mating, and they also have a large abdomen. As a main reproductive member of the colony, their sole purpose is just to produce eggs which are done by mating with the male ants. These ants will fly to their nest to mate and this just happen during a specific time of the year. The females then look for a proper nesting site to begin a new colony.
This is getting more interesting for ants are most in time mistaken for being like winged termites, or are commonly known as swarmers. Compared to ants, which have a constricted and narrow middle body part, slightly bent antenna, and has a short hind wing but has longer front wings, termites or swarmers have no constricted body, usually rectangular in shape, with straight antenna and have 4 wings that are longer than its body and are equal in size and form. Another comparison is on the way they work and appear. Worker ants are most often seen in places around the house, and much more visible compared to termite workers, who are rarely seen around if not disturbed. These workers have a creamy white appearance and are wingless. For winged termites, their path can easily be tracked because their wings fall off in every way they may have surfaced.
Mostly, the ants feed on left over foods especially those that are sweet, or have glucose in it. So if you have some left over rice on the dining table from the night’s dinner party, and have not cleaned it yet, expect to see these tiny pests roam around your house. Be careful to not leave any traces of oil, fat or even pieces of meat along the kitchen because they will also feed on it, and that is for sure. Also, if you have some holes, and decaying or damaged wood to where you take a bath and clean yourself, expect to see some ants in your bathroom. This is because ants can build and grow their colony at any place possible. Some ants build their nests behind moldings, along the barriers, baseboards, small holes, and other places that they can have their colony. They can also build their nests on the soil. Truly, knowledge is an important key to get rid of these pests. Knowing what food ants feed on and their preference on nesting site is an essential factor in exterminating their colony. One thing to know is the damage caused by ants differs from nothing to extreme amounts. They can just roam around your house and pretend like nothing happened or they can invade your home and destruct your precious woods without you knowing it.
Moving on, we will now discuss the different types of ants that could be found in your houses. All of its characteristics, from behavior, habitat, reproduction, to its diet will be taught. When you don’t know if you are already infested by these ants, we will also discuss the signs and indicators that they are already feasting on your home. Let us get to know about these kinds of ants namely: Carpenter Ant, Acrobat Ant, Thief Ant, Harvester Ant, Citronella Ant, Allegheny Mound Ant, Field Ant, Pavement Ant, Argentine Ant, Moisture Ant, Fire Ant, Pharaoh Ant, Odorous Ant, Ghost Ant, and Big Headed Ant.
Carpenter Ants (camponotus spp.) – These are large ants measuring about 0.64 to 2.54 cm. Carpenter ants mostly feed on dead, and damp wood to build their nest. They commonly feed on building and structures. Also, as part of their diet, these ants eat parts of dead insects. A sign of infestation of carpenter ants are foraging of the workers.
Acrobat Ant (Crematogasper spp.) – If you’re wondering where this ant got their name of being the acrobat ones, well they truly deserved to be named such. When they are disturbed, they tend to have a habit of raising their abdomen above their head acrobatically. Interestingly, they seem to be flexible enough to this. Their abdomen somewhat looks like a heart when it is viewed from above. In the United States, there are several species of acrobat ants that can be found. Typically small, most of their species are just 5.44mm in length, or even less than that size. They produce a disturbing and unpleasant odor when disturbed, so as a precaution, prepare to have your face mask along when exterminating this ants. You surely don’t want to smell something bad, do you? Another thing to remember is this type of ants love to nest where there is moisture especially under woodpiles, stones, in stumps, and in rotting logs. Moreover, they enter your homes in several different ways and leave a trail across the ground. The common entryways for them are your door thresholds and corner your house that does not have much of maintenance. They can also have their way through your house’s utility lines such as where pipes and wires go through. To reproduce, winged male and female ants fly out to their nest and mate. These female ants then become queen of their colonies and began to lay eggs. You know you are infested by acrobat ants when you noticed debris they produce when excavating their nests which often time consists of dead ants or foam insulation. Obviously, they leave a trail along your house and you can visibly say that you are already having an ant infestation.
Thief Ant (Selonopsis Molesta) – Measuring about 1.5 to 2.2 mm. long, thief ants are considered to be one of the smallest ants. When it comes to appearance, they range in color yellow t to brown, and have a 10-segment antenna. They may nest on surfaces outside, most especially under the rocks, or even indoors: in cupboards or cracks. Also known as “greasy ants,” or “sugar ants,” these insects feed on sugary, high-protein and greasy foods such as cheese and rice. In reproduction, when the queen laid eggs, it will incubate for 50 days minimum to fully develop into adults. Although may come in a really small size, these ants can be easily seen and you clearly know that you are infested.
Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex spp.) – Harvester ants are red in color and can have a size that measures around 6.5 to 10 mm. long. They are mostly found in the western side of the world, at high places. These ants have three common species namely: the western, red, and California harvester ants- each have interestingly have different and unique behavior and characteristics, designation, classes, food preference, nesting patterns and defense mechanisms. It is good to know that harvester ants do not infest on indoor structures, and invade your home’s structure, but rather, they build their nests around your garden or yards that usually destroy your plants. The mostly have a single queen that is responsible for producing eggs for the colony. You know you are infested by harvester ants when you can see traces of large mounds and little bit removed plants that indicate that there is a harvester ants’ activity going on.
Citronella Ant (Lasius Interjectus) – Citronella Ants, especially those who are in the workers’ class, size approximately 4 mm long and are yellow in color. Comparatively, the queens grow about 8 mm. long. They nest outdoors, mostly in soil, under rocks and logs. When indoors, these ants love places with high moisture. Often times, they nest in a wood that was infected and damaged by termites or fungus. Your home might have a moisture problem and it is a clear sign why citronella ants invade it. Getting to know what causes this and solving it is a must. The reproduction is the same as with the above processes. You will know that there is a citronella ant activity, when there are traces of foraging workers. Also, when they nest in soil, mounds are clear signs that these ants are present in your yard.
Allegheny Mound Ants (Formica Exsectoides) – These ants have a dark brown to black abdomen and legs, and have a red head and thorax. Ranging from 3.2 to 6.3 mm. in size, they do not sting but when in some cases their nest is disturbed, expect them to cast their defense mechanism by producing a distinct formic odor and prepare to be stung. Allegheny mound ants often nest on open areas, especially on fields, and wooden surfaces. They usually feed on insects and honeydew. They can sometimes be a destructor for ant workers damage trees by chewing the bark’s opening and spraying a formic acid on it. Queens reproduce eggs which will eventually become workers and producers. Presence of mounds or workers foraging for food are visible signs that you are infested by Allegheny mound ants, and it is highly suggested that you call a pest control professional to exterminate these pests.
Field Ants (Formica spp.) – The workers of field ants can have a size of approximately 4 to 8 mm. depending on the species. Their color may vary from yellow, black, red, or a combination of black and red. Field ants can have their nests outdoors such as gardens, fields, lawns, and parks. They can also nest in places near trees, rocks, fences, sidewalks, or the building’s foundation. Honeydew, which is a substance that comes from insects like aphids or mealy bugs, is what these ants feed on. Aside from these insects they also are attracted to meats and most species of these ants are scavengers. Generally, the queen is the one, who produces the eggs, when will become workers in the colony when they become adult. A sign for the field ant’s activity can be visibly seen by the naked eye. The same as with other ants, they make mounds in the ground or in other types of plant.
Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum) – These ants come in light brown to black and can grow from 2.5 to 3 mm. long. Pavement ants are usually invaders of buildings while searching for food. These ants with wings in house can be a real pain in the head. While on outdoors, they nest in the cracks of pavements, or under stones. Their choice of food comes in a wide variety such as meats, cheese, seeds, live and dead insects and honeydew. For the months of June and July, male and female ants swarm to reproduce eggs, where the female becomes the new queen for the colony. Small piles of excavated materials are clear signs that these ants are present in your house.
Argentine Ants (Linepithema humile) – Measuring from 2.2 to 2.8 mm long, Argentine ants’ color range from light to dark brown and have a 12-segment antennae. They can nest from different types of surfaces because these ants are very adaptable. Argentine ants are considered to be omnivorous, meaning they can eat almost anything but are truly attracted to glucose-type foods. Like almost other type of species of ants, they go through a process of metamorphosis. A visible sign that you are infested by these ants is when you can see foraging trails.
Moisture Ants (Lasius spp.) – When it comes to appearance, moisture ants in the workers’ class are yellow and has a size of 4 to 4.5 mm. long. Like citronella ants, they also produce a citrus scent when crushed. They are named as such because they love nesting in places with high moisture. Some of these places include leaks in the plumb and damaged wood. Moisture ant colonies have a single queen that serves as their reproductive caste and the same as with the previous examples, reproduction occurs when male and female ants swarm and mate. Most common signs of Argentine ants are swarmers.
Fire Ants (Solenops Invicta) – Growing approximately 1.6 to 55 mm. long, these ants are red in color. Their habitat is mostly on soil and a clear indication of infestation is when there are mounds on the ground. Fire ants are mostly omnivorous who eat greasy, meaty and sugary materials.
Pharaoh Ants (Monomorium pharaonis) – These ants have a yellow body that can grow in as much as 2 mm. long. These ants with wings in the bathroom can have their place on well- protected indoor surfaces, or nest outdoors in such places as lawns or gardens. In about 38 days, Pharaoh ants can complete its metamorphosis. Interestingly, the female’s life span is 4 to 12 months while workers only live up to 10 weeks. Amber- colored workers that forages along surfaces is a clear sign of these ant infestations.
Odorous Ants ( Tapinoma Sessile) – You already know why these ants were named as such, right? Growing about 2.4 to 33 mm. at length, odorous ants have dark brown or black bodies with a node on their petiole. Their metamorphosis ranges from 34 to 83 days. They can easily contaminate supplies because of their scent and it is a visible sign that you are infested with these tiny pests.
Ghost Ants ( Tapinoma melanocephalum) – Ghost ants was named as such because of its bodily appearance. Workers are 1.3 to 1.5 mm. in size. They have the same characteristic as with the odorous ants because when crushed, they give off a coconut-like odor. These ants can be found mostly in tropical places like south and central Florida. Like other types of ants, they are attracted to sugary materials like honeydew. You know that you are infested by ghost ants when they appear in trails of foraging for food.
Big headed Ants (Pheidole spp.) – These ants’ color can range from yellow to dark reddish-brown, depending on the species. Big headed ants have their colony under rocks or logs. Sometimes, they create a mound around the nest opening. They feed on insects, honeydew and foods that are rich in protein. As for reproduction, colony often consists of multiple queens. Common signs of infestation are occurrence of worker ants foraging for food.
Truly, ants can be a real problem when they invade your homes. So before searching for how to get rid of ants with wings, be sure to know first what you are dealing with. Getting to know about their characteristics, behavior, nesting pattern, and diet are what you need to do first before buying ant control pests in the market to really eradicate these pests and make them never return your house.