are one of the most common pests in and around homes in
Queens are the largest members of the colony, often two to three times
larger than workers. Queens possess wings but break them off after
mating. They have very large abdomens and can live for a number of
and queens will swarm (i.e. fly) from their nest to mate. A given
species will mate during a specific time of the year. After mating, the
female seeks a proper nesting site and begins a new colony. The
presence of swarming winged ants inside buildings is an indication of
an ant nest indoors.
are sometimes mistaken for winged termites
that are commonly called "swarmers". Ants differ from termites by having a
waist, elbowed (bent) antennae, and hind wings shorter than front wings
[see below image]. Termites
rectangular shaped body with no constrictions, straight, beaded
antennae and four wings of equal size and shape that are much longer
than the body [see below image].
ants have become global, found in every country. When this ant invades,
it devastates the native insect communities while promoting the
population growth of agricultural pests. Colonies may contain hundreds
of queens and can grow and populate an area the size of a normal city
ants DO NOT eat wood. They REMOVE WOOD as
tunnels. [See below photos of carpenter
ant damage on two different houses!]
foraging is done at night between sunset and midnight during spring and
summer months. Sometimes workers travel up to 100 yards from a nest in
search of food. Colonies can contain up to 50,000 workers.
colonies can have up to 250,000 workers. Fire ants inject painful
venom through their stingers. They are very active and aggressive and
will sting humans and animals repeatedly, which can sometimes lead to
crushed, give off a very unpleasant odor, similar to rotten coconuts;
colonies are very large. They can nest in homes in walls voids and
under floors. Odorous house ants do not cause structural damage to
Commonly found under homes with concrete slab construction; ants enter
homes through cracks in the concrete.
1/16-inch long. Very large colonies with up to several million workers
and thousands of queens. Generally, there are no disease problems
associated with ants. In hospitals, however, Pharaoh ants can transmit
disease organisms, such as Staphylococcus.
1/32- to 1/16-inch long. Also referred to as grease ants.
These little guys are difficult to detect, often confused with Pharaoh
ants, are very persistent and difficult to control (best to have these
ants identified by an expert--proper identification is very important
before pest management steps are taken). Thief ants are so named
because of their habit of nesting near the nests of larger ants and
stealing their larvae.
more information about the above ants and other Wisconsin ants, please
visit University Extensions consortium of
Wisconsin and Iowa.