Allegheny mound ant infestations can be a great threat to your lawns, farmlands, and households. These small insects have the potential to kill small trees, shrubs and vegetables. These ants live in mounds and they inject formic acid into the surrounding vegetation to clear the area within 40 to 50 feet around them.
The establishment of Allegheny mound ants is not only a threat to your vegetation but they can also cause havoc in your house. To avoid this threat, there is a need to develop a control strategy or to get rid of the Allegheny mound ants before they establish their colonies.
How to get rid of Allegheny mound ants? There are two effective methods that can be used to get rid of the Allegheny mound ants. First of all, you need to locate their mounds (colonies) and after that, you can choose what type of method or insecticide to use (ant baits, liquid or granular ant killers). Choose the type of insecticide depending on how fast you want to get rid of the Allegheny mound ants. Liquid or granular insecticides must be poured directly into their mound and it works instantly while ant baits take time but in the end, the results are the same. You will successfully get rid of Allegheny mound ants. It is important to note that ant baits are much better for the environment and other living beings.
In the article, you will find a complete guide about the Allegheny mound ants, how to identify them, their life cycle, prevention techniques, management, and control methods.
As always we do our best to provide the innovative pest management strategies and methods to control the larger infestations and preventive measures to avoid any larger damage to your premises. Let’s start!
Allegheny Mound Ant: Information and Facts
What is an Allegheny mound ant? Allegheny mound ant (Formica exsectoides) can also be referred to as ‘field ant’. These species of ants are native to North America. They are also found in Atlantic Coast from the land of Nova Scotia (Canada) to some areas of Georgia.
The word Formica exsectoides originates from the Latin words, Formica which means ‘ant’ and exsect for ‘to cut out’. This name is given to this species of ants because of their method of infestation (by clearing vegetation) in the fields.
• How Does the Allegheny Mound Ant Look Like?
Allegheny mound ants are 1/4 to 1/8 inch long, their head and thorax are red in color whereas the legs and abdomen are dark brown to black. The abdomen tip is covered with hairs and the workers of this ant species have different sizes. They can be mistaken with the fire ants due to their similar appearance. The antennae of the Allegheny mound ants are segmented (12 segments).
Allegheny mound ants create formic acid and inject it in the plants or vegetation to clear the site for mounds. The use of acid results in the death of the young plant (vegetation).
• Allegheny Mound Builder Ants: How and Where Do They Live?
Allegheny mound ants can establish their colonies in a wide range of habitats from marine wild fields to open forested areas, in the backyard, residential areas, gardens, farmlands, pasture areas or in open fields, etc.
These ants dig large mounds, tunnels or make anthills in the open fields to establish their colonies. Workers select the site of the mound and defend the colony. Their mounds can be tall up to 3.3 feet and wide about 6.6 feet. During the first 2 weeks, they can build a canonical mound that is about 8 -13 inches wide. After 5 months of building, the mound can get up to 2 feet wide and 8 inches tall. After 2 years, the mound can be up to 3 feet deep and 4 feet tall.
The trees which are 2-5 years old and up to 8 inches tall are more susceptible to the Allegheny mound ants attack. These ants extend their mounds by the process of mound budding and form multiple colonies from a single colony.
The single established colony has a large number of workers, drones and multiple queens, which may also be linked to other Allegheny mounds’ colonies. This can often result in super-colonies. These ants prefer areas under sunlight to keep their mounds warm for the incubation of a new colony.
• Life Cycle of Allegheny Mound Ants
Allegheny mound ants develop their colonies rapidly. The single generation completes its life cycle from egg to adult in about 2 to 3 months, can be varied according to temperature. The workers help in the incubation of eggs and pupae to establish a colony. The ants dig the mound in spring and early summer and escort the mated queen which lay eggs.
The eggs develop into larvae in 2-4 weeks. The workers take care of legless white larvae and protect them from harsh conditions. They collect food for the larvae and nourish them. In about 3 to 7 weeks, the larvae develop into pupae. After 2 weeks, the pupae grow into an adult (light in color). A mound can remain active for a long period of up to 30 years.
• What Does the Allegheny Mound Ant Eat?
The Allegheny mound ants survival depends on both living and dead matter. They prey upon carbohydrate secretion or on the honeydew that is secreted by different pests or aphids. The Allegheny mound ants are scavengers that feed on the dead matter, dead leaves, twigs, arthropods and more. They prey upon beetles, small bugs, caterpillar larvae, grasshoppers, flies, treehoppers, wasps, gypsy moth, crickets, white pin weevil and so on.
• Can Allegheny Mound Ants Damage My Garden or House?
If the Allegheny mound ants establish their colonies in your lawn. They can cause serious damage to your vegetation and they have the ability to destroy farmlands in months. These pests have the potential to kill the plants within the range of 40 to 50 feet from their mounds.
They prefer to live in open field areas. However, if form a nest in your house, they can spoil your food and can carry diseases from the dead or contaminated matters. The Allegheny mound ant infestation can be helpful at the beginning because they kill garden pests and increase soil fertility but in larger numbers, they can be destructive for your field.
Allegheny Mound Ant Control | Pest Control Methods
The first step of the pest control method is the detection of mound ant infestation. These ants start their colonies by forming mounds. If you see ant mounds on your land, then you should be prepared to take strict measures. After the establishment of a single colony, the queen moves to another mound and starts establishing another colony.
Their rapid growth and presence of multiple queens can make it hard for you to get rid of them. For these reasons, we have devised a strategy by combining different control methods to completely eradicate their infestations.
How to Get Rid of Allegheny Mound Ants: Basic Instructions
Several control methods are used to get rid of Allegheny mound ants. The most commonly known method to control these pest infestations is the application of insecticides.
- The liquid or granular insecticides are poured directly into the mound of Allegheny mound ants to destroy their establishment in your land. Then remove the mounds and level the ground in the field and keep an eye on it after insecticide application to stop their re-establishment.
- Slow acting ant baits are also used to lure these ants and to get rid of their entire colonies. If the workers get attracted to the bait and feed on it including the queen. The bait will cause the death of the entire colony. However, if the infestation is larger, integrated pest management techniques should be employed to completely eradicate the Allegheny mound ants.
- To prevent their attack inside your house, make sure to seal all the cracks, crevices, holes, tunnels or sideways and take extra care of cleanliness and sanitation. The Allegheny mound ants depend on honeydew-producing insects, dead matter (scavengers) or meat, that is why it is important to keep your house clean.
Allegheny Mound Ants Elimination | Chemical Method
Slow acting ant baits can help to lure and kill the Allegheny mound ants. The worker ant will take the bait to their nests and if all queens ingest this bait. It will cause the death of the colony. However, the survival of a single queen means the survival of that colony.
Therefore, to completely get rid of their colony and in a timely manner, use liquid or granular insecticide along with ant baits. If you want to stay environmentally friendly, use just ant baits to get rid of the Allegheny mound ants. We recommend the following products:
- Kills the ants you see and the ones you don’t
- Ready to use set the bait, attract ants, and kill the colony
- Sealed station keeps liquid bait Fresh until opened
- Use bait stations along baseboard, under appliances, on...
- Target pests: For indoor and outdoor control of...
- Highly attractive formula promotes ready transfer of the active...
- Powerful, active ingredient knocks out workers, brood and queens
- Approved for use indoors and outdoors, applied in cracks and...
- How does Optigard Ant Bait Gel work? Ants that feed on the gel...
- Kills the queen and destroys the mound
- No watering-in required
- Treats up to 162 mounds
- Guaranteed to kill or your money back
- Use Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer as part of Ortho 2-Step Fire...
Application of Insecticides
The application of insecticide is an effective solution to get rid of Allegheny mound ants. Follow these steps in order to have better results:
- Search and inspect the mounds in the infested area and mark them. Measure the diameter of mounds to have a better idea of what you are dealing with (some products have exact dosing that is based on the diameter of the mounds).
- Before the application of an insecticide, remove the mounds from the top. Use the shovel to scrape the top of the mounds to completely expose it.
- After exposing the mound, pour about 1 gallon of insecticide in the mound (liquid or granular) to completely level it. Increase the quantity of insecticide if necessary. Repeat the process for every mound.
- The smaller anthills can be eradicated by scraping and by applying lower amounts of insecticide, whereas larger mounds in some cases would require about 5 gallons of insecticide.
- It is important to note that different products have different methods of applications, so it is important to read instructions on each one.
Note: Wear gloves and long pants to protect yourself from ant bite. Use a brush to remove ants on the body.
Some of the insecticides that can be used are spinosad, phosmet, cypermethrin containing Demon WP, Demon EC, Cynoff WP, and Cynoff EC. The liquid insecticides containing deltamethrin, carbaryl, permethrin or cyfluthrin are also effective against Allegheny mound ants.
Follow the manufacturer’s labels and instructions for the application of insecticides. After employing the pest control methods, keep an eye on the infested area for a few weeks to make sure that you completely have gotten rid of these ants.
Allegheny Mound Ants Elimination | Biological Control
The fungus named Beauveria bassiana can be used to control the Allegheny mound ants to a limited extent. This method will not completely eliminate the infestation of ants. This fungus can be introduced in the land if you want to control the population of Allegheny mound ants. As we have said, these ants are good for controlling other pests such as aphids or other garden pests.
Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Allegheny Mound Ants | Natural Methods
Boric Acid Solution
To make the boric acid bait at home, mix 1.5 tablespoons of boric acid, 1/2 cups of sugar in 1.5 cups of warm water. Soak a cotton ball in the solution to saturate it. Place it near the infested area to lure them.
Vinegar and Lemon Solution
Mix vinegar and water in equal amounts to prepare the vinegar insecticide spray. Pour it directly on the ants to control their infestation. To make the lemon juice solution, mix ¼ cup of lemon juice in ¾ cup of water. You can apply the solution directly to kill the ants.
To make a soap solution, mix 2 teaspoons of liquid soap in a cup of warm water. Spill it directly on the ants. The boiling soapy water can increase the efficiency of up to 60 – 70%. Be careful during the application of water as the soapy water can harm the surrounding vegetation.
Camphor Oil Solution
To prepare camphor oil solution, Take 1 cup of camphor oil and mix it in 9 cups of ethyl alcohol. For more solution double the quantity of oil and ethyl alcohol (1:9). Scrape the top of the ant mound and pour the solution in it.
Note: The remedies may not kill all the colonies at first. Apply multiple treatments to completely eliminate Allegheny mound ants. You may prepare the right quantity of solution by analyzing the area of infestation.
Are Allegheny Mound Ant Bites Dangerous?
Allegheny mound ants will not bite until you approach their mounds or if they feel threatened. They do not sting but their bite is painful. These ants inject formic acid on your skin during bite which causes irritation and the swelling of the area.
Allegheny Mound Ant Bites Treatment
Here are the simple home remedies to cure ant bite:
- Apply diluted apple cider vinegar on the infected skin area. It will take away the burning sensation.
- For quick relief from an ant bite, you can also apply honey or toothpaste on the skin.
How to Prevent Allegheny Mound Ants From Invading Your House or Garden
The Allegheny mound ants mostly live in open lands and they rarely come in the house in search of water or food. To prevent their entry into the house, seal all the gaps, crevices, holes or cracks, including pipes and windows and every possible entry point.
Keep your environment neat and clean and, do not leave leftovers or garbage in your house. Apply non-repellent insecticides around your house and in the foundation of walls to prevent their entry. The mound ants do not prefer dense vegetation or shady area where direct sunlight is disrupted.
Allegheny Mound Ants are also known as field ants. They live in the mounds, in open areas under the sunlight and they can establish their colonies rapidly. These ants have a massive potential to destroy your vegetation and young plants in the garden. They depend upon both dead and living matter for their survival.
The integrated pest management technique should be followed to completely eradicate the Allegheny mound ant infestations from your land. Also, apply insecticides outside the boundary of your house to prevent their entry. You can use ant baits and liquid or granular insecticides side by side to get rid of them.
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List of Sources
Townsend L., Allegheny Mound Ants in Kentucky, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Allegheny Mound Ant, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Mound ants, Michigan State University Extension
Bristow C. M., Cappaert D., Campbell N. J., Heise A., (1992), Nest structure and colony cycle of the Allegheny mound ant
Formica exsectoides, ITIS
Biology and control of the Allegheny mound ant, Journal of Economic Entomology
Groden E., Using Beauveria Bassiana for Insect Management, University of Maine