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Types of Ants
If you are looking for information on how to get rid of ants, then you have come to the right place. Ants are one of the most prolific pest species in the world. With over 15,000 species worldwide, only a small fraction of ant species can be found here in Florida.
Ants are a social insects living in colonies that may number over a million. Ant identification is very difficult due to the size of the pest insect. A 20x-30x hand lens magnifier would be required to correctly identify some of the smaller ant species. Ants are tireless scavengers that help to recycle dead and decaying organic materials. As a group, Ants feed upon practically everything that humans consume. Ants have succeeded in replacing other types of structural pests as the number one pest in structures today. Ants can be detrimental to human health because of potential for disease transmission. Ants are frequently annoying and sometimes dangerous because of their bites and/or stings. Not all ants sting. Many ants produce toxins secreted by glands in the head which is deposited in the bite. Individuals sensitive to insect venom, symptomatic reactions include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, perspiration, cyanosis and asthma, leading to anaphylactic shock. Without appropriate medical treatment such reaction can lead to death.
The ant queen is the largest individual in the colony. The queen mates only once but may produce offspring until she dies. The life span of a queen varies with different species from one year to several years. Colony propagation can occur in flight, swarming flying ants, or through a process called " Budding". Not all queen ants are capable of extended flight. Propagation normally occurs late spring thru the summer months. Swarming ants within a structure indicates that an established satellite colony could be located anywhere within the premises. The number of queens in a colony will vary with various ant species.
Foraging ants will venture from the main colony in search food, water or a safe harboraging area. The foraging distance will vary from various ant species anywhere from several feet to over 300 ft. The size of workers will vary depending on the ant species. Once a foraging ant finds an acceptable food source, it returns to the nest by laying down a chemical trail. This forager recruits other worker ants to exploit the food source. Many ant species will switch food types, sweets to proteins, based on the colony needs throughout the year.
Workers are one size-one form.
Workers are two different sizes.
One queen only.
Different sized queens.
Features: 1/8" Long, Black with heart shaped Abdomen with two nodes. Workers are monomorphic and queens are monogyne.
Feeding Habits: Prefer sweets and proteins. (Meats)
Habitat: Primarily nests outdoors in soil, under concrete, leaves, trees, rotten logs.
Indoors they colonize in building voids and insulation.
Features: 1/8" Long. Shiny dark brown with one node. Workers are monomorphic and the colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Prefer sweets and proteins.
Habitat: Primarily nests outdoors in exposed or covered soil under mulch, under trees and logs. Foraging workers will venture into buildings for food.
Features: 1/16" Long. Front half is black, rear half is clear with one node. Workers are monomorphic and colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Prefers sweets, dead insects and other foods.
Habitat: Primarily nests outdoors and forages indoors. They will build colonies inside buildings behind baseboards, cabinets and wall voids. Moisture requirements are high and can be found in kitchens and bathroom.
Features: 1/4" Long. Variety of different colors and sizes with one node. Workers are polymorphic and colonies are monogyne.
Feeding Habits: Prefers sweets, insects, insect secretions and other viable food sources.
Habitat: Primarily nest outdoors hollowing out dead moist wood in trees, fences and logs. They don't eat the wood but depositing wood frass pieces nearby. Inside buildings they will build their colonies in attics, wall voids, foam insulation, eaves and crawl spaces.
Features: 1/8" Long. Are dark brown with two anodes and small stingers. Workers are monomorphic and colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Prefer sweets, greasy foods, pet food and dead insects.
Habitat: Primarily nests along sidewalks, and foundation of buildings, stones, and mulch areas. Often access structures via plumbing pipes foraging in trails from outside to indoor food sources.
Features: 1/16" Long. Are yellow with a reddish abdomen with two nodes. Workers are monomorphic and colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Greasy fats, oils, blood and dead insects.
Habitat: Primarily nests indoors, inside wall voids, baseboards, etc. Quite common in kitchens, bathrooms and in hospitals.
Features: 1/16" Long. Are light brown or yellow with two nodes. Workers are monomorphic and colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Greasy foods, rarely sweets.
Habitat: Outside they nest under rocks or logs, inside they nest inside wall voids and behind baseboards. Nests will be near other ant colonies and steal their food and larvae to feed their own colony.
White Footed Ant
Features: 1/8" Long. Are black with yellow tarsi with one node. Workers are monomorphic and colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Sweets, proteins and dead insects.
Habitat: Outside they nest in hollow trees/logs, rocks and leaf litter. Inside of structures the nest in wall voids, attics and furniture. Colonies can possibly grow a million strong.
Fire Ant (Red Imported - Imported - Southern)
Features: 1/8" - 1/4" Long. Variable in color with two nodes. Workers are dimorphic and the colonies are polymorphic.
Feeding Habits: Sweets, oils, proteins and dead insects. They are the primary predators/scavengers ant species.
Habitat: Primarily nests outdoors building mounds above the ground in sunny areas, that are either dome or crater shaped. Very aggressive when disturbed and are capable of producing a very painful venomous sting to their attackers.
Features: 1/8" Long. Black in color with one node. Workers are monomorphic and the colonies are polygyne.
Feeding Habits: Prefer sweets and proteins.
Habitat: Outdoors, nests are found in tree holes, wood and in mulch. Indoors, nests are in wall voids and under stored items. Colonies are found in either dry or moist areas. The workers are constantly moving in an erratical panic manner.