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Citronella Ant Facts
Also known as: yellow ants and moisture ants
Citronella ants are a little mysterious. There are not many details about these smelly ants, but we do know how they got their name: from the citronella odor that is emitted from them, especially when they are provoked or crushed.
Citronella ants, sometimes called moisture ants or simply yellow ants, live throughout much of the United States, with heavy concentrations in New England and the Midwest.
Citronella Ant Identification
Citronella ants are typically yellow but range in color from light yellow to light red-brown. They are often confused with termites because of how they look, especially because citronella ants, too, consist of workers and swarmers, and the swarmers have wings.
Types of Citronella Ants
There are two species of citronella ant: the large yellow ant and the small yellow ant. Both size ants are made up of workers and swarmers.
Large yellow ant workers range from 4 to 4.5 mm long, with 12-segmented antennae. Large yellow ant swarmers are about twice the size of the workers with dark wings.
Small yellow ant workers are typically 3 to 4 mm long, with small yellow ant swamers being about twice their size.
Citronella Ant Bites
These smelly ants can’t sting, but will bite if they feel threatened. Citronella ant bites feel like a small pinch and may leave a little red mark, but are harmless. Citronella ants may also release a lemon-scented chemical if they feel alarmed, which sometimes may irritate people with sensitive skin.
Citronella Ant Infestation
Citronella ants typically only nest outside. Common nesting sites include fields, pastures, lawns, and gardens. In some cases, colonies have been found under big rocks, rotting logs, and concrete slabs. These smelly ants do not cause structural damage and are more of an annoyance when they get into your home. Citronella ants eat the honeydew that they farm from aphids and mealybugs.
Citronella Ants In The Home & The Garden
The citronella ant does not cause structural damage and is usually more of a nuisance. They can get inside your home by crawling through cracks in the foundation and openings around doors and windows. Unlike many of the other ant pests, citronella ants will not get into your food products. Citronella ants prefer to nest outdoors in open areas like your lawn. You may notice small mounds of deposited soil at the openings to their nest.
Citronella ants are often confused with termites because not only are they similar in color but they also swarm. Reproductive male and female ants often swarm in mid to late summer. You may see a swarm of these winged citronella ants resting on the side of your house, but a citronella ant infestation is not likely to happen within your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Yellow Ants
How do you tell the difference between citronella ants and termites?
Many people mistake citronella ants for termites because of their similar light color and swarming habits. The citronella ant has elbowed anntenae, a tiny waist and two pairs of wings that are different sizes. On the other hand, a termite has straight anntenae, a broad waist and two pairs of wings that are the same size.
Should I hire a professional to help me manage a Citronella ant infestation?
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a citronella ant problem. Finding and treating the ant colony can be challenging, especially if the main colony is hidden somewhere outside in the lawn. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the citronella ant infestation.
(Courtesy Photo: Antweb.org)