Citronella ants, whose official and scientific name is Pheidole megacephala, are small and yellow in color. Those who have ever had the displeasure of stepping on one barefoot would describe them as very slippery and smooth. What makes these ants different from other types is that not only do they have the coloring of a lemon, they also give off a lemon scent, particularly when crushed or stepped on. Citronella ants also tend to be much larger in size than other types of ants and at adult size can grow to be as large as 5 millimeters.
Another distinctive trait of citronella ants are that their antennas are amassed of 12 antennas ranging in size and length. Their heads and eye areas are covered by miniscule hairs which are protective for them and though small, can be seen with the naked eye if one cares to get close enough. The queens of this breed of ant can be distinguished from the other family members by a small set of wings. Queen citronella ants are the only ones that are able to reproduce.
Citronella ants are found throughout many places including the United States, Mexico and the Pacific Northwest. They prefer to build their hones deep within the grounds, often found under rocks or setting up shop in wood. The preferred wood homes are those that are rotted as the citronella ant is most comfortable in dark and moisturized surroundings. For this reason, if you have found that your home has been infected with citronella ants, the chances are high that you have rotting wood, beams and scaffolding somewhere within the house.
Citronella ants also love to host and reside in areas where termites are present because termites will do their grunt work for them like eating away at the wood and siding, thereby making a perfect home for the citronella ants that come in behind them and take cover. It is not unusual for homes that have a citronella ant problem to concurrently have a termite issue to also contend with.
Citronella ants only mate during the two months of September and October as they are cooler and it is swarming season so the likelihood of finding a good mate is high. Once impregnated, the queen ant will bury herself inside a dark and moist rotted wood panel until she gives birth.
Although citronella ants will do their best to find a nesting place outside (the area that is preferred) others are quite content with nesting indoors as well. They often take up shack near homes and will travel indoors once they are given birth to in search of a new home and food sources. Since the citronella queen ant can lay several sacks of eggs at once, the sheer amount of citronella ants can be overwhelming for home owners.
Although citronella ants do not damage homes like termites do, they are a pain and an overall nuisance for homeowners, as the worker ants leave the nest in droves in search of food.
Ant Control NJ – Getting Rid of Ants
If you notice that you have a citronella ant issue is it always a good idea to consult a pest control specialist. One of the main reasons for doing so is that with citronella ants also comes the likelihood of termites which will also need to be removed quickly as they cause massive damage to a house’s foundation and wooden structure. Additionally, citronella ants produce large amounts of baby ants that can be nearly impossible to rid of in entirety. These ants often burrow themselves in hard to reach places like floorboard cracks and crevices. Many times pesticides are needed to destroy nests and living ants and they are toxic and dangerous if not utilized properly.
If the nests are outdoors it is essential to destroy all nests to discourage the ants from coming back. This is done with the utilization of pesticides and special vacuums that pest control specialists have. If an area is treated but not all the nests are located and destroyed, it is more than likely that your citronella ant problem will return which is why many people choose to hire a pest control company to take care of the issue.
Baits can also be set around areas where citronella ants have built their homes. These baits have toxic and deadly pesticides within them that the ants mistake for food and will quickly and effectively kill them.
The key to getting rid of a citronella ant problem to pest control as well as taking precautionary measures such as keeping excess wood off of the ground and away from the home as well as being diligent and observant of any areas within the home that may have damaged or rotting wood and replacing those areas immediately.