Termites Swarming? This Time of Year, Its Citronella Ants

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Have you recently noticed bright or brownish yellow ants about ¼ inch long coming up through floor joints and doors in your home or garage? You are most likely dealing with Citronella ants. Use your finger to crush one of these ants, and sniff your fingers afterwards ... what do you smell? That’s right!

Citronella ants are very common in the eastern United States and are frequently confused with termites when they swarm. They get their name from the citronella or lemon verbena scent, which is emitted as a natural defense mechanism when threatened.

What does a Citronella ant look like?
The workers are 4 to 4.5 mm long and have 12-segmented antennae. Swarmers are approximately twice the size of the workers and have dark, smoke-colored wings. Like the workers, they can also vary in color from a light yellow to light reddish-brown.

What should you do if you see Citronella ants?
Citronella ants usually swarm around homes throughout the year, but mostly mid-late summer, late autumn and even early spring. Swarms take place due to an abnormality created by the warmer soils under and adjacent to heated structures. These large yellow ants are most often noted in spring or fall right after a heavy rain or other disturbance, like construction, landscaping or gardening near their nest sites. The citronella ant tends to nest in rotting wood, under slabs, patios, and rocks, in crawl spaces, and between insulation, and sub flooring. Other than being a nuisance, Citronella ants are not really structurally infesting. They are subterranean insects that feed on honeydew excretions of aphids and mealy bugs feeding on the roots of shrubs. Although intrusions may alarm homeowners, the ants will not reproduce within the home nor will they attack stored goods or structures.

The best way to get rid of ants is to locate and treat the nest directly. Ant control is sometimes easier said than done, why you should contact an ant removal specialist right away. Contacting a pest control specialists, like Thomas Pest Services, who will address your ant problem quickly using the most up to date technologies to exterminate the ants in the house. Contact Thomas Pest Services for a free pest inspection.


Source: National Pest Management Pest Gazette - Fall 2008 & Penn State Entomology 

Tags: signs of termites  |  swarming insects  |  ants with wings


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