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Pavement AntsSome ant species are considered pests, and because of the adaptive nature of ant colonies, eliminating the entire colony is nearly impossible. Pest management is therefore a matter of controlling local populations, instead of eliminating an entire colony, and most attempts at control are temporary solutions.


Ants classified as pests include the pavement ant, yellow crazy ant, sugar ants, the Pharaoh ant, carpenter ants, Argentine ant, odorous house ants, red imported fire ant and European fire ant. Populations are controlled using insecticide baits, either in granule or liquid formulations. Bait is gathered by the ants as food and brought back to the nest where the poison is inadvertently spread to other colony members through trophallaxis. Boric acid and borax are often used as insecticides that are relatively safe for humans. Bait may be broadcast over a large area to control species like the red fire ant that occupy large areas. Nests of red fire ants may be destroyed by following the ants' trails back to the nest and then pouring boiling water into it to kill the queen. This works in about 60% of the mounds and requires about 14 litres (3 imp gal; 4 US gal) per mound.

Pavement Ants

The pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum, is a common household pest. Their name comes from the fact that they usually make their homes in pavement. They are distinguished by two spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, and grooves on the head and thorax.

During early spring, colonies attempt to conquer new areas and often attack nearby enemy colonies. These result in huge sidewalk battles, sometimes leaving thousands of ants dead. Because of their aggressive nature, they often invade and colonize seemingly impenetrable areas. In summer time the ants dig out the sand in between the pavements to vent the nests.

Yellow Crazy Ants

The yellow 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 yellow 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.

Sugar Ant

The sugar ant (Camponotus consobrinus) - also known as the banded sugar ant - is a relatively large ant, exclusive to Australia, identifiable by their orange-brown bodies, black head and mandibles. The sugar ants' name comes from their liking for sugar, but they are attracted to other savory food. They are commonly referred to as pests and produce painful bites. Contrary to popular belief, the Sugar ant is not related to the Bulldog ant [Myrmecia], although they share similar colours, like the red and black sections of their bodies.



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.




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.



Odorous House Ant

This species is a scavenger/predator ant that will eat most household foods, especially those that contain sugar, and other insects. Indoors they will colonize near heat sources or in insulation. In hot and dry situations, nests have been found in house plants and even in the lids of toilets. Outdoors they tend to colonize under rocks and exposed soil. They appear, however, to form colonies virtually anywhere, in a variety of conditions. They can trail extensive distances (though their trails are rarely longer than 50 feet), usually along landscape edges. Colonies range in size from 100-10,000, and house several queens (as many as 200, in some instances). They are non-aggressive. While queens can lay as many as 20-30 eggs in single day, they lay only 1-2 (or less) eggs per day on average over long periods of time. Typical time to adult phase of development is 34-38 days. It is believed that queens and male ants are only produced in larger colonies.


Red Imported Ant

The Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), or simply RIFA, is one of over 280 species in the widespread genus Solenopsis. Although the red imported fire ant is native to South America, it has become a pest in the southern United States, Australia, Taiwan, Philippines, and the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. There are also reports of ant hills in Macau, the former Portuguese enclave that borders the province of Guangdong. RIFA are known to have a strong, painful, and persistent irritating sting that often leaves a pustule on the skin.

In the 1930s, colonies were accidentally introduced into the United States through the seaport of Mobile, Alabama. Cargo ships from Brazil docking at Mobile unloaded goods infested with the ants. They have since spread from Alabama to almost every state of the American South, from Texas to Maryland. Since the 1990s, infestations have been reported in California in the West and New Mexico in the Southwest, but probably via ship or truck (not overland) in the case of California.



European Ant

Myrmica rubra, also known as the European fire ant or common red ant, is a species of ant of the subgenus Myrmica, found all over Europe and in some parts of North America and Asia. They are mainly red in colour, with slightly darker pigmentation on the head. The ants live under stones, fallen trees, and in soil. They are aggressive ants, often attacking rather than running away, and are equipped with a stinger, though lack the ability to spray formic acid like the genus Formica.

Mainly originating from central Europe, this species is currently invading Japan and North America, where they are considered a nuisance as it is an invasive species.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 September 2009 22:18 )  

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