Field Ants

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Identification

  • Colour Black, brown, yellow, and red
  • Size From 4 mm to 9 mm long
  • Description The thorax is unevenly rounded, there is one node between the abdomen and the thorax, and there are three tiny white dots – tiny simple eyes, or ocelli – on the front of the head between their two compound eyes.

General Facts

Field ants get their name from their penchant for nesting in open fields, though northern species also live in woodlands. The insects also go by the common names of mound ants or thatching ants, which both refer to their preferred forms of shelter. Mounds built by field ants can grow as large as 30 cm in diameter and create an unsightly scene when they occur in the lawns and yards of private residences. Over 100 field ant species live throughout North America.

Habitat

While different species of field ants hold different preferences in regard to habitat, none of them invade homes for shelter. Instead, field ants favour outdoor nests. Typically, the insects construct mounds in the soil anywhere in the lawn or yard. As field ants prefer to live outdoors in soil, they are most often found in lawns beneath rocks and logs. This means they rarely show up inside homes. However, when the ants do make their way inside, they’re attracted by food sources like trash bins, crumbs, and spilled drinks. Homeowners may notice them on countertops, tables, and windowsills.

Diet

The primary component of the field ant diet is the honeydew produced by aphids and other plant-sucking insects. However, as field ants are not known to be picky, the pests also feed on sugary substances, soft-bodied insects, seed husks, and dead insects.

Life Cycle/Reproduction

The duration of the field ant life cycle and the specific reproductive processes of the insects tend to vary by species. However, every colony features a queen ant who takes responsibility for laying eggs. The eggs then mature into sterile worker females and male drones. A single field ant colony is capable of surviving a decade.

Field Ant Mounds

Field ant mounds are often found in the soil on lawns, particularly near fences, trees, sidewalks, or rocks that provide some cover from predators. Property owners will be alerted to the presence of the underground tunnels by an aboveground mound, roughly 7 to 10 cm long and 5 cm tall. These mounds are often covered by leaves, pine needles, and stems.

Removal

When a field ant infestation occurs in the yard, the residents of the property may choose to live in peaceful coexistence with the harmless creatures. Once the insects become a serious nuisance, however, homeowners should consider contacting a pest control professional. Often, the application of appropriate pesticides is enough to kill off a colony. Professional pest specialists possess the necessary training, knowledge, and certifications to successfully remove field ants and help prevent further infestation problems.

 

Why do I have field ants?

Field ants, also called mound ants or thatching ants, build outdoor nests, constructing mounds in the soil anywhere in the lawn or yard. Some species prefer to live under firewood piles, bricks, lawn ornaments, trees, and rocks.

The ants feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and other plant-sucking insects, as well as sugary substances, soft-bodied insects, seed husks, and dead insects.

How do field ants get inside?

Given suitable points of entry and available food, large-scale infestations of field ants can occur inside homes. The pests are able to break into homes through extremely small cracks and holes such as damaged window and door seals or broken window screens. At the first sign of field ants in the house, residents should contact the professionals at Orkin Canada for swift elimination.

How worried should I be about field ants?

Field ants rarely come indoors, but in the yard, their mounds may prevent the growth of grass or surrounding plants and can cause problems when the lawn must be mowed. Mounds built by field ants can grow as large as 30 cm in diameter and so can create an unsightly scene.

Fields ants are difficult to spot early on, before the mound is fully formed, but once established a single field ant colony is capable of surviving a decade. If you do decide they are a nuisance, the best way to eliminate them is with the help of professional pest control services.

Do field ants bite?

Field ants nest in soil and are often found on private properties. When their mounds are disturbed, the pests will bite. They pinch people’s skin between their mouthparts and squirt formic acid into the wounds they create, which causes a stinging sensation.

How can I prevent field ants invading?

Check under wood piles, lawn ornaments, and large rocks, Locate and fix any cracks in the foundation, Repair broken screens on windows and doors, Check that drainage is free-flowing and clean, Trim back overhanging shrubs and trees, Keep lawns clear of clutter and debris

What is the difference between field ants and carpenter ants?

Field ants and carpenter ants are easily confused because of their similar size and colour. However, the two species are physically distinguishable based on the shape of their thoraxes, as field ants have two distinct curves, while carpenter ants have a single curve.

Field ants and carpenter ants also observe different nesting habits. Homeowners will find carpenter ants in porch pillars, windowsills, roofs, and dead trees because they hollow out wood to create their nests. Field ants live in underground tunnel systems in the soil.

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