Ant or Large Yellow Ant
Scientific Name: Acanthomyops interjectus
Shape: Segmented; oval
Size: Workers, 1/16-1/8"; queens, 1/4"
The Large Yellow ant is often called a Citronella ant because when
the workers are disturbed or crushed, they give off a strong citronella
Citronella ants forage below the surface of the soil and are not
seen on the soil surface under normal circumstances. They feed on
the honeydew produced by subterranean aphids and mealybugs, which
feed on the roots of trees and other plants. The workers are not
seen foraging in homes and buildings; rather it is the winged reproductives,
called swarmers, that enter buildings in early- to mid-spring. These
males and females enter the home from cracks in the foundation or
through subslab heating ducts. The sudden appearance of hundreds
of these swarmers is often disconcerting to homeowners. The swarmers
also have the strong, characteristic citronella odor.
These ants are ground dwellers. Citronella ants locate their colonies
within the soil under items such as stones, logs and landscape timbers.
They also may be found in the soil under mulch next to building
foundations, or they may locate colonies in soil underneath slab
floors and in crawl spaces.
They are primarily a nuisance and pose no public health threat.
Colonies do not require control unless the swarmers are entering
the home or building. Even then, treatment may not be possible because
it is difficult to know exactly where the colony is located under
the foundation. Sealing the cracks in the floor where the swarmers
enter may stop the swarm from entering a home or building, but the
ants may find other cracks.
Reduce ant habitat by removing rotting wood and debris from cellars,
outbuildings and yard. It may be desirable to create a debris free
band about 3 feet wide around the house. All living plants and all
refuse, including wood or pine needle mulch, should be removed from
around the foundation.
Reproductives that emerge within a structure or crawl space will
not survive because the interior habitat is not suitable for starting
a new colony, so no control measures are necessary. Indoor swarms
of reproductives may be removed with a vacuum cleaner.
(Source: National Pest Management Association, et. al.)