McDonald Pest Control
 

Pest Identification from McDonald Pest Control

Ants

Acrobat Ant

The acrobat gets its common name from its behavioral habit of raising its abdomen over their head and thorax. Worker ants are known to bite aggressively and give off a noxious odor when disturbed. Colonies typically nest either in stumps, old trees, under rocks or even in exposed soil and once in awhile homes becoming pests. In homes these ants will nest in woodwork and foam insulation as well as infest household foods showing a preference for sweets, meats and other foods high in protein.

Winged acrobat ants, or those ready for mating season usually appear during the fall season. When noticeable in the home, it’s a solid indication of an infestation.

Big Headed Ant

It is a very successful invasive species and is considered a danger to native ants in Florida and other places in the world including Australia. It has been nominated as one of the hundred “World’s Worst” invaders.

There are two types of worker ant, the major or soldier ant and the minor worker. The common name of bigheaded ant derives from the soldier’s disproportionately large head. This has large mandibles which may be used to crush seeds. The soldiers are about four millimeters in length, twice as long as the minor workers. The color of both types varies from yellowish-brown or reddish-brown to nearly black. The rear half of the head is smooth and glossy and the front half sculptured. The twelve-segmented antennae are curved and have club-like tips. The waist is two-segmented with the node immediately behind conspicuously swollen. There are a pair of short, upward-facing spines on the waist. The body has sparse, long hairs.

Pharaoh Ant

The pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) is a small (2 mm) yellow or light brown, almost transparent ant notorious for being a major indoor nuisance pest, especially in hospitals. The origin of this “tramp” ant is uncertain, although favoured alternatives include West Africa and Indonesia. The Pharaoh ant has been introduced to virtually every area of the world including Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Southeast Asia. Pharaoh ants are a tropical species but they thrive in buildings anywhere, even in temperate regions provided central heating is present.

Unlike most ants the Pharaoh ant is polygynous, meaning its colonies contain many queens (from 2 to over 200). An individual colony normally contains 1000–2500 workers but a high density of nests gives the impression of massive colonies. Colonies also lack nestmate recognition so there is no hostility between neighbouring colonies. Pharaoh ants lack the normal cycle of reproduction observed in most ants; they are able to produce sexual reproductive individuals as required. Laboratory colonies exhibit weak reproductive cycles but this cannot be assumed to be the natural condition. Colonies reproduce by “budding”, where a subset of the colony including queens, workers and brood (eggs, larvae and pupae) leave the main colony for an alternative nest site. Budding is the major factor underlying the invasion of Pharaoh ants. A single seed colony can populate a large office block, almost to the exclusion of all other insect pests, in less than six months. Elimination and control are made difficult because multiple colonies can also contract into smaller colonies and “weather the storm” of a baiting program only to rebound when baiting is withdrawn. Pharaoh ants are a major hazard in hospitals, where their small size means they can access wounds, driplines, and instrumentation, causing spread of infection and electrical interference.

Pharaoh ants have become a serious nuisance pest in hospitals, rest homes, apartment dwellings, hotels, grocery stores, food establishments and other buildings. They feed on a wide variety of foods including jellies, honey, shortening, peanut butter, corn syrup, fruit juices, baked goods, soft drinks, greases, dead insects and even shoe polish. Also, these ants gnaw holes in silk, rayon and rubber goods. In hospitals, foraging ants have been found in surgical wounds, I.V. glucose solutions, sealed packs of sterile dressing, soft drinks, water in flower displays and water pitchers. These ants are capable of mechanically transmitting diseases and contaminating sterile materials.

Imported Fire Ant

Fire ants are a variety of stinging ants with over 280 species worldwide. They have several common names including ginger ants and tropical fire ants (English), aka-kami-ari (Japanese), fourmis de feu (French), Feuerameisen (German), and Langgam (Filipino).

A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets. Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants only bite to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called Solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines. For humans, this is a painful sting, it hurts, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire—hence the name fire ant—and the aftereffects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive individuals. The venom is both insecticidal and antibiotic. Researchers have proposed that nurse workers will spray their brood to protect them from microorganisms.

Fire ants nest in the soil, often near moist areas, such as river banks, pond edges, watered lawns and highway edges. Usually the nest will not be visible as it will be built under objects such as timber, logs, rocks, pavers, bricks, etc. If there is no cover for nesting, dome-shaped mounds will be constructed, but this is usually only found in open spaces such as fields, parks and lawns. These mounds can reach heights of 40 cm (15.7 in).

Colonies are founded by small groups of queens or single queens. Even if only one queen survives, within a month or so the colony can expand to thousands of individuals. Some colonies may be polygynous (having multiple queens per nest).

 

Ghost Ant

They are recognised by their dark head and pale or translucent legs and gaster (abdomen). This colouring makes this tiny ant (116 of an inch, 1.5 mm) seem even smaller.

The ghost ant’s diet consists mainly of sweets but they will also feed on grease and occasionally living or dead insects. They exhibit a high need for moisture, and although colonies are usually established outside, they can readily “set up camp” inside domestic houses during dry conditions.

This is a widespread tropical species, found throughout the world. Its native range is unknown.

The ghost ant is thought to be so named because the legs and abdomen of the insect look transparent, with only the head and thorax being dark brown in colour.

Observed in infested buildings with the naked eye they are quite difficult to distinguish from pharaoh ants, being virtually of the same size.

Like a lot of small insects a positive identification can only be made once is a specimen is looked at through a microscope.

The worker ants form trails like pharaoh ants, taking food back to the nest, and also like pharaoh ants, the queens are communal, so that there can be several queens in a colony, and several thousand workers. New colonies can be formed when a queen and some workers migrate away.

 

Argentine Ant

The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, formerly Iridomyrmex humilis) is a dark ant native to northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. It is an invasive species that has been established in many Mediterranean climate areas, inadvertently introduced by humans to many places, including South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Easter Island, Australia, Hawaii, Europe, and the United States.

They have been extraordinarily successful, in part, because different nests of the introduced Argentine ants seldom attack or compete with each other, unlike most other species of ant. In their introduced range, their genetic makeup is so uniform that individuals from one nest can mingle in a neighboring nest without being attacked. Thus, in most of their introduced range they form “supercolonies”. “Some ants have an extraordinary social organization, called unicoloniality, whereby individuals mix freely among physically separated nests. This type of social organization is not only a key attribute responsible for the ecological domination of these ants, but also an evolutionary paradox and a potential problem for kin selection theory because relatedness between nest mates is effectively zero.” In contrast, native populations are more genetically diverse, genetically differentiated (among colonies and across space), and form colonies that are much smaller than the supercolonies that dominate the introduced range. Argentine ants in their native South America also co-exist with many other species of ants, and do not attain the high population densities that characterize introduced populations.

 

 Crazy Ant

Crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is a species of ant, introduced accidentally to northern Australia and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, and is a pest in both locations. They are colloquially called “crazy” because of their erratic movements when disturbed, and are one of the largest invasive ants species in the world.

Along with the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), the big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata), and the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), the crazy ant is one of the five species of tramp ants, known for invasive behavior and devastating ecological effects. Also known as the long-legged or Maldive ant, it has also been listed among the 100 most devastating invaders of the world. It has invaded ecosystems from Hawaii to Seychelles, and formed supercolonies on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

 

Florida Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants are large (¼–1 in) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the Black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus. However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus.

Carpenter ants can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They can leave a sawdust like material behind that provides clues to nesting location.

In at least nine Southeast Asian species of the Cylindricus complex, such as Camponotus saundersi, workers feature greatly enlarged mandibular glands. They can release their contents suicidally by rupturing the intersegmental membrane of the gaster, resulting in a spray of toxic substance from the head, which gave these species the common name “exploding ants”.

Its defensive behaviors include self-destruction by autothysis. Two over-sized, poison-filled mandibular glands run the entire length of the ant’s body. When combat takes a turn for the worse, the ant violently contracts its abdominal muscles to rupture its body and spray poison or glue in all directions. The ant has an enormously enlarged mandibular (abdomen) gland, many times the size of a normal ant, which produces the glue. The glue bursts out and entangles and immobilizes all nearby victims. The termite, Globitermes sulphureus has a similar defensive mechanism.

 

White Footed Ant

Was first described from Indonesia in 1861, the white footed ant neither bites nor causes structural damage. Yet it is considered a nuisance due to their explosive population growth. Although not native to North America, the insects were accidentally imported into Florida where they were first collected and identified in 1986.

The White Footed Ant is a medium small (2.5-3 mm long), black to brownish-black ant with yellowish-white feet and a one-segmented waist. It has five abdominal segments, 12-segmented antennae, few erect hairs, and no sting.

Carpenter Ant Video

 

 

Ghost Ant Video

 

 

Harvester Ant Video

 

 

Crazy Ant Video

 

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