Types of Ants
Across the world the ant is an uninvited guest in every home.
This insect is invincible. In America ants are actually considered as the number one nuisance. Ants are “eusocial” (or supportive brood care) creatures that belong to the Formicidae family, and together with their counterparts, such as bees and wasps; they belong to the Hymenoptera order. Ant evolution commenced from the wasp during the middle of the Cretaceous era, about 110 to 130 million years before. Following the emergence of the flowering plants, they became distinct.
Out of the 22.000 species over approximately 12,500 were classified. Their elbow shaped antennae and the nodal figure that generates their slim waist is a clear sign of recognizing them.
The most triumphant family of insect that belong to the animal kingdom are the ants, mainly because they are social in their behavior and make superior structured nests or colonies that comprise of millions of individual ants. The species of ants that invade, at times toil collectively and make excellent nests, spread over a vast expanse of land. The description attributed to ant colonies at times, is “superorganism”, the reason being they function as a single unit, but working as a group, jointly in support of the colony.
The colonies that the ants create, can expand from a few dozen ants that dwell between the crevices, to well structured colonies that can accommodate big provinces with millions of ants. In the bigger colonies, most of the ants are sterilized females having no wings, organizing divisions of “soldiers”, workers, or perhaps special divisions. Almost all colonies of ants possess males that are fertile; they are called “drones” and a few females that are fertile, that you call the “queens”.
Since ants dwell in big colonies, what appears as a tiny invasion, turns out as a grievous issue for home dwellers.
Ants have a success story of their own on this planet. The rapid evolution of the ants and their speedy proliferation soon found them occupying every nook and corner of the world as is evident in their diversity that includes the thief ants that are involved in stealing from other nests, to the weaver ants that sew their homes from the leaves on the top of trees.
Some of the different types of ants are as given below:
Citronella Ant - Photo by: Jen Fogarty, AntWeb.org
This species of ants release citronella or lemon-like odor, especially when you crush them. The worker ants normally have a yellow color, whereas the winged ants that reproduce have a tendency towards the darker shade. Citronella ants favor aphids, and feed on sweet honeydew emitted by them. The entomologists are not definite whether the citronella ants consume any other source of food. Citronella ants favor attacking homes, particularly at mating time, but they are only an irritant. These ants do not destroy any construction or attack food substances.
Formica Ant - Photo by: Richard Bartz
This variety of field ants belong to the genus named Formica ants. Their nests are made in the form of mounds in exposed spaces. A variety of field ants, called the Allegheny mound ants, build their nest in the shape of mounds as tall as three feet and of width six feet! On account of this method of mound construction, they can, sometimes, be confused with fire ants that are comparatively smaller in size. Depending upon their species, the field ant’s color can also differ, and they are big or middle sized. The field ants and the fire ants, at times, combine, and together, form marvelous colonies, having worker ants amounting to hundreds of millions that spread over a distance of thousands of miles. The defense mechanism of Formica ants is to bite and emit formic acid, which is a chemical substance that smells as well as irritates the lesion.
Thief Ant - Photo by: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
Thief ants are normally called grease ants, foraging on food items having high protein such as grease, fat and meats. They acquired the name thief ants, since they steal food and litter from other ant varieties. The thief ants are fairly small in size; they are 2mm long. These ants attack homes in order to forage for food, but always make their nest outside. In case they start dwelling in your homes, doing away with them is a hard task, because, they use their miniature size to compress into unnoticeable spots. Thief ants are often mistaken for Pharaoh ants.
Carpenter Ant - Photo by: Bob Peterson
Carpenter ants are the type of ants that you certainly need seek in your abode. These ants never really consume wood as the termites do, but they dig up tunnels and nests in the lumber structures. Carpenter ants favor damp wood, in case there is either flood or leakage in your residence, beware of their entry. Carpenter ants are not often a nuisance, but they in fact act as a vital agent is the biological cycle of decomposing the lifeless wood. Carpenter ants are omnivorous, and consume anything from lifeless insects to the sap of trees. These ants are big in size; a full length worker ant is ½ inch.
Fire ants protect their homes violently, they also crowd round any creature they feel a danger to them. The sting or bite of a fire ant makes you feel that you are on fire, for which reason, they are nicknamed, “fire ants’. Those who are allergic to the sting of wasps and bees are allergic to the sting of fire ant too. Even though you find fire ants inhabiting North America, it is those that are imported from South America that create all the problems. The normal places where fire ants build anthills are in sunny and exposed places, hence farms, parks and golf courses are especially susceptible to infestation by fire ants.