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Allegheny Mound Ants

Allegheny Mound Ants can be a pest of pasture, forested areas, and lawns. Allegheny mound ant occurs from Nova Scotia south to Georgia and from the Atlantic Coast to the western side of the Appalachian Mountains.In Virginia and probably most of West Virginia, the distribution is confined primarily to mountainous regions.

Allegheny Mound Ant

Allegheny Mound Ant

These ants build large mounds at the colony entrance using the soil that they remove as they dig tunnels and chambers deep in the ground. A 5-month-old mound can be about 2 feet wide and 8 inches tall. In about two years, mounds can be up to 3 feet tall. The underground tunnels may go down 3 feet into the soil and extend out to about 4 feet.

In addition to building large mounds, the ants inject surrounding vegetation with formic acid to clear the area. Small trees and shrubs within 40 to 50 feet of large mounds can be killed. Two- to 5-year-old trees near large mounds are especially susceptible to damage but trees up to 8′ tall can be killed. If the ants become established in lawns, they can kill the grass around the mound and their hunts for food can make work or play in the area very unpleasant. These ants will bite if the colony is disturbed.

Food : Foraging for food begins when the colony becomes active in the spring. This is usually in late March or early April. The ants seek two types of food. Workers attack and dismember beetles, sowbugs, spiders, small caterpillar larvae, and many other arthropods that the ants can overcome. The other type of food they seek is honeydew produced by sap-sucking insects like aphids, scales, and treehoppers.

Allegheny Mound Ants

Allegheny Mound Ant Nymphs

Life Cycle: The Allegheny mound ant mound begins with the excavation of soil into irregular heaps by a few workers. Within about two weeks the mounds develop into a conical shape having a diameter of 8-13 inches. At this time, workers will escort a queen from an existing mound to establish a new colony. Eggs, larvae, and pupae may be relocated to the mound as well.

New mounds originate in late May and June. They may also appear later if the original colony has been disturbed. Many new mounds originate from “budding.” In this process, a new mound is joined to an existing mound by a subterranean connection.

Mounds vary greatly is size. This seems to depend on population and age of the mound. Some mounds remain active for up to 30 years. They may reach a diameter of 15-18 feet and be nearly 3.5 feet high.

Control: 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. After opening a mound, pour in about one gallon of the diluted material per foot of mound diameter so that it soaks into the soil. Repeat the process at each mound.

Allegheny Mound Ants

Allegheny Mound Ants Mound

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