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Florida Ant Control: Banish These Wood-Damaging Pests


Origin

Believed to be native to India, but now found throughout the world. It is most common in the U.S. from Florida to Texas along the Gulf Coast, but also occurs in other states from California to New York, as well as in Hawaii.

Ants

Biology

This is a single-node ant whose common name comes from their habit of running around erratically with no apparent purpose. Their extremely long legs and antennae tend to accentuate this behavior. Nests may be established in a wide variety of situations, from wet to dry habitats, in the soil under other objects, in tree holes, under mulch, in potted plant soils, or in other odd cavities they find.

Within structures, they nest in wall voids or under objects that are not moved for a period of time. Their foods range from proteins to sugars, and they will tend aphids for honeydew. They also are excellent predators, feeding on the larvae or adults of many other insects, including fleas, flies, and fire ant swarmers.

The colony of the Crazy Ant may have numerous queens, and new colonies are often established by budding. Colonies commonly contain only 1000 to 2000 workers, but may have up to 40 queens. This is a monomorphic species where all the workers are the same size.

Identification

Workers are small and dark brown to black. There is a single node and the legs and antennae are extremely long in relation to the rest of the body. The antennae have 12 segments, no club at the end, and the long basal segment is nearly twice the length of the head. There is a small circle of hairs surrounding the anal opening.

Modern society considers the ant a pest, and due to the adaptive nature of ant colonies, eliminating one is near impossible. Pest control with regard to ants is more a matter of controlling local populations than eliminating an entire colony. Attempts to control ant populations of any kind are temporary solutions.

Ants don’t “eat” wood. They damage wood by excavating galleries in which to lay their eggs and tend their young. Unlike termites and some wood-destroying beetles, ants derive no nutritional benefit from the wood itself. (They may, however, raise fungi within the galleries, which they then use for food.)

If left untreated for a long time, ants can do significant damage above and beyond that caused by moisture itself. This kind of damage can be very expensive to repair because the entire superstructure of the house sits on top of the sill plate, making it very difficult and expensive to replace. A few species will occasionally attack electrical wiring for unknown reasons, and in these situations, extensive damage can occur.

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