Ant Pest Control Services for the Wilmington, DE, Area
Origin: Many species of these ants are native to North America, with several species seemingly the most likely to invade structural wood members. There are many destructive species in the Pacific Northwest states, as well as from Florida to the northeast to the southwest and in Hawaii.
Biology: The usual habitat of a colony of carpenter ants is within wood, often wood buried or partially buried in the soil. They also commonly establish “satellite” colonies that may be in a structure, maintaining contact between the two colonies with the workers who travel to and from over well-defined trails. Generally there is a single queen in the colony but often supplementary queens as well. Colonies typically are around 15,000 workers when mature, but potentially could be over 100,000 workers. Foods are both carbohydrates and protein, with insects a major part of the diet. These are single-node ants without a stinger, although they are capable of biting. As they expand their colony they eject “frass”, which is wood chips and other debris such as leftover insect parts. This frass is often seen in structures before the ants are, as they are primarily nocturnal in habit. Carpenter ants are also typically polymorphic, with various sizes of workers in the colony.
Identification: Worker ants are easily identified to the genus
Camponotus by the single, large node and the evenly rounded profile of
the top of the thorax. It has no dips or spines on it, but is an even,
curved line from front to back. There is a circular fringe of hairs
around the anal opening and the antennae have 12 segments. Colors range
from tan to black to reddish to orange to black/red combinations.
Workers vary from 6 to 13 mm in length
Odorous House Ants
Origin: Native to North America, and found throughout much of southern Canada, all of the U.S., and into Mexico.
Biology: This is a single node ant that may easily be confused with the Argentine Ant, but when viewed from above the single node of the Odorous house ant is not visible, as it is tucked up against the abdomen. It also is a shinier black color. The name is derived from the strong odor given off when the ants are crushed, said to resemble rotting coconuts. Workers are all the same size and forage in long, distinct trails. Colonies may have up to 10,000 workers in them, and nesting sites may be almost anywhere. Outdoors they make shallow soil nests under any material on the ground, within hollow trees, or in any other cavity available. Indoors they nest in wall voids, under insulation in crawl spaces, or within cavities in the wood. Sweet materials like honeydew or other sugar sources are their preferred foods.
Identification: Workers are only about 3 mm long, and are shiny black to dark brown. They have a single node that is tucked closely against the front of the abdomen, and the top of the thorax has a slight dip in it near its mid-point. There are 12 segments on the antenna and there is no enlarged club. There is no circle of hairs around the anal opening.
Origin: Thought to have arrived from Brazil in ships transporting coffee around 1891, and now found throughout North America, in Hawaii, and on most other continents throughout the world.
Biology: Though the Argentine Ant is a small, non-stinging ant, it is a very territorial and aggressive ant that will drive away or kill competing ant species. Neighboring colonies of Argentine ants appear not to be aggressive toward each other, allowing for the rapid spread and domination by this species. Colonies contain thousands of workers and many queens, and mating will take place within the confines of the colony. New colonies are often formed by budding off from the parent colony. Nesting is usually in the soil, commonly under concrete slabs, but may also be found in any other convenient void, such as in trees, wall voids, under insulation, or under debris on the soil. Soil nests are generally very shallow. While protein foods are part of their diet, their preferred foods are sugars, including household food products, fruits in gardens, and honeydew.
Identification: This is a single-node species with small workers only about 2.5 mm long, and with all workers the same size. The Argentine can be separated from the similar Odorous House ant by its visible node and by its dull gray-black to gray-brown color. When viewed from the side the Argentine Ant has a distinct dip in the top of the thorax. There is no circle of hairs around the anal opening. The first segment of the antenna is not longer than the head, and the legs are not noticeably long, as compared with the crazy ant.
Origin: Believed to originate from either Europe or Asia, but found commonly throughout the east coast states and California, and less commonly in the Midwest.
Biology: The common name of these ants is derived from their habit of creating nests under asphalt or concrete slabs, pushing small mounds of soil out through cracks and expansion joints. The nests are usually very shallow, and may also be found under debris or objects on the ground, as well as within structures near heat sources in the winter. Activity is generally begun at dusk or later, and the workers forage commonly within structures, where they may feed on greases, pet foods, or sweet materials. Outdoors they feed on honeydew, fruits, or other materials. Swarming is most common in the spring, with large numbers emerging from numerous colonies over a period of several days. They are attracted to lights and may find their way indoors at night.
Identification: This is a double-node ant, shiny black, and about 3 mm long. It has a small pair of spines at the back of the thorax and it is capable of stinging, even though the workers are fairly slow moving. The workers are easily identified using magnification, to see the distinct lines on top of the head, running from front to back. Swarmers often are confused with carpenter ants, but are easily separated due to the 2 nodes, rather than a single node as is the case with carpenter ants.