Ants | Des Moines, IA
Ants tend to become a serious nuisance for homeowners throughout the spring and summer months. And though there is an abundance of ant species, there are only a select few that can wreak havoc and prove difficult to eliminate in central Iowa. Let's take a look at the most common species of Iowa ants.
Carpenter Ant Appearance
The carpenter ant is one of the largest ants found in the U.S. This particular species can grow up to 3/4" long. The most common color of a carpenter ant is black. However, there are some species that have a yellow or red coloration.
Carpenter Ant Behavior and Diet
Carpenter ants are commonly found both indoors and outdoors in moist environments such as decaying wood from water leaks. The carpenter ant does not eat the wood but excavates the moist wood to develop a nesting site. Carpenter ants feed on food that people eat such as meat and sweets. A common indication of carpenter ant activity is the sawdust like material that they kick out of their nest during the excavation of the wood. This material is called "frass" and is actually a mixture of sawdust and small dead ant parts.
Carpenter Ant Reproduction
Queen carpenter ants lay between 9 to 16 eggs their first year with the queen having the potential of living up to 25 years. Once the queen ant raises her first group of workers and they are ready to gather food, they then get the job of feeding and raising the next generation of workers.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous House Ant Appearance
The odorous house ant is small, measures up to an ?" in size and are typically brown or black in color. What sets the odorous ant apart from others is the rotten smell that is produced when they are crushed.
Odorous House Ant Behavior and Diet
Odorous house ants nest in a variety of locations, such as within walls or even in floors. The odorous ant is attracted to sugary waste, such as honeydew from aphids, which they feed on the most. When inside a home, this species of ant is attracted to any sweet items homeowners may have around. However, they are also known to feed on meat, as well as grease.
Odorous House Ant Reproduction
Odorous house ant colonies can be created in two ways. The first is if the colony produces winged female and male reproductives who will then swarm out of the nest, mate and then the fertilized female will establish a new colony. The second way for a new colony to be created is when the queen odorous ant and her workers break off from their colony to create their own. Odorous house ants develop from egg, larva, pupa and then to adult, which typically takes from 34 to 83 days.
Pavement Ant Appearance
Pavement ants are brown or black in color with their appendages a lighter color than the rest of their body. The pavement ant is typically about an ?" in size and has twelve segmented antennae, as well as a three-segmented club.
Pavement Ant Behavior and Diet
Pavement ants will make their way inside when looking for food. Otherwise, their nests are typically outdoors within pavement cracks, curbs or under stones. If they do make their way indoors, the pavement ant will nest within the walls or under floors. Pavement ants are not picky with their food and will feed on a variety of foods such as meat, grease, other insects, honeydew, etc.
Pavement Ant Reproduction
Pavement ant reproduction occurs when the winged female and males swarm, which occurs during the summer in June and July. Once they mate, the females will search out a nesting spot and become the queen of her new colony.
Larger Yellow Ants
Larger Yellow Ant Appearance
As the name suggests, the larger yellow ant is yellow-brown in color and about ?" in length. What sets this species of ant apart from others is the lower section of their antennae and lack hairs. Larger yellow ants are also known as "citronella ants" due to the citrus odor they produce when crushed.
Larger Yellow Ant Behavior and Diet
The larger yellow ant can be found in gardens or rough grasslands under logs or stumps. This particular species of ant can live underground for long periods of time, as long as the grass above their nest is not cut often. Larger Yellow ants prefer to feed on exclusively honeydew, and are most active in the evening.
Larger Yellow Ant Reproduction
Similar to most species of ants, the larger yellow ant lives within organized colonies run by a reproductive female queen, a few males and numerous workers. It is during the summer that colonies release winged reproductive males and future queens
Thief Ants (Grease Ants)
Thief Ant Appearance
As one of the smallest species of ants, the thief ant measures in at about 1/16" long and range in color from yellow to brown. The grease ant has a thorax without spines, a waist with two nodes and small eyes.
Thief Ant Behavior and Diet
Thief ants are known to nest in a variety of locations, but most commonly under rocks outdoors. However, if they do make their way indoors, they choose to nest within cupboards or cracks. The grease ant will feed on protein, as well as greasy foods such as cheese, meats, nuts, etc.
Thief Ant Reproduction
The queen thief ant lays eggs which can take about 50 days to develop fully into adult thief ants. Thief ant mating swarms tend to appear from June to September, which is when this species of ant is most commonly found indoors.
Des Moines Pest Control
Searching for an ant exterminator in the Des Moines metro? Look no further than Preferred Pest! If you believe your home or business is experiencing an ant infestation, schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (515) 276-7277.