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Moisture Ant are an easily recognized group of social insects. The workers are wingless, all possess elbowed antennae and all have a petiole (narrow constriction) of one or two segments between the thorax and the abdomen.
Moisture ant workers measure about 1/8 inch long and may be yellow, light brown, dark brown or nearly black in color, depending on the species, phenotype and caste. The winged reproductives (alates) measure 1/4 â€“3/8 inch long (not including wings) and are glossy brown to black in color. The waist of the abdomen is 1-segmented (single node). Although no stinger is present, these ants will bite and secrete pungent-smelling formic acid onto the persons or animals harming them or disturbing the colony..
workers, queens, and males. Males are intermediate in size. has wings, but loses them soon after mating. However,scars remain where the wings were attached.The worker, the smallest member of the colony, Workers may be of one size (monomorphic) or may vary considerably in size (polymorphic). Large workers are usually called soldiers or majors, very small workers are minors.
Colonies usually are widely separated; however, heavy infestations in pasture and rangeland can reduce yield. Red harvester ants also colonize in ornamental turf areas where their presence may be undesirable. They do not invade homes or structures.
Life Cycle: Ants pass through several distinct developmental stages in the colony: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The egg is very small and varies in shape accord. ing to the species. The larva also varies in size and shape, but is usually white and is always legless. The pupal stage looks like the adult but is soft, white, and motionless. Many are enclosed in a cocoon of a brownish or whitish papery material.
Ants produce reproductive forms usually at one time of the year (spring or fall, depending on species and colony disposition). Colony activity at the time of reproductive swarming is high, with winged males and queens and workers in a very active state. The queen and males fly from the colony and mate.
Shortly after mating, the male dies. The inseminated queen then builds a small nest, lays a few eggs, and nurtures the developing larvae that soon hatch. When adult workers appear, they take over the function of caring for the queen and larvae, building the nest and bringing in food for the colony. Colonies may persist for 20 years or more.
Damage: Moisture ants prefer to nest in water damaged, rotting wood. In nature, you can find colonies inhabiting fallen trees and tree stumps that are in the advanced stages of decay. Because moisture ants enjoy sweets, they can often come into our houses to feed on any sugar left unprotected; this can be annoying. And because they inhabit wood, they can cause accelerated decay in our homes. Colonies that develop in decaying wood of a house, can weaken wooden structures.
Citronella Ants damage
Management: Moisture ants prefer to nest in rotting wood, look for areas of your home that are susceptible to excess moisture. Check wood near gutters, leaky plumbing, windowsills and drains where wood can become damp. Also look for wood that comes into contact with soil, such as porch steps, support beams and low siding.
Investigate rotting wood for evidence of ant activity. Look for tunneling and sawdust. If damage is found, confirm that it is moisture ants causing the damage. Wood damaged by moisture ants is cardboard-like in appearance. Many other destructive wood-nesting pests, such as carpenter ants and termites, may be causing the damage and treatment of these pests may differ. The presence of moisture ants nesting homes is an indication of another problem, water damage. Solving the cause of water damage will also solve the ant problem. Using insecticides to control moisture ants is a temporary fix to the real problem. Remove damaged wood and replace it with the proper materials that will not encourage rot.
If moisture ants are causing an annoyance around the house, reassure yourself that they arenâ€™t nesting in your wood by investigating as described above. Often moisture ants will nest in your yard and come visit your house looking for sweets and other food items. An easy remedy is to tolerate them while you clean up any morsels of food that can be found lying around.
If you want to control, you may wish to consult a pest management professional.
Moisture Ant damage
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