Are the Black Ants Commonly Found In Homes Dangerous Toward Humans or Damaging to Property?
The commonly encountered ant species, L. niger and L. neoniger, are abundant in urban and residential areas of Pennsylvania where they often establish nuisance infestations within houses and inflict damage to lawn grass. These two closely related species are more commonly known as “European black garden ants” and “cornfield ants,” respectively. Both of these ant species feed naturally on honeydew, and their taste for sugary human foods often brings them into houses in large numbers where they sometimes find their way into kitchen cupboards and pantries. These ant species also nest within residential lawn soil where they construct many unsightly dirt mounds that visibly protrude from grass, and these dirt mounds become even more noticeable after bouts of rainfall.
The subterranean nests created by European black garden ants tend to be more extensive and abundant on lawns than the nests created by cornfield ants. Both species establish subterranean nests near the foundations of homes, as doing so provides the ants with heat as well as some degree of protection from heavy rainwater. These ants prefer to establish nests on landscapes where grass and/or other forms of vegetation are abundant, as vegetation traps moisture that the ant colonies need to survive. European black garden ants and cornfield ants frequently establish nests below sidewalks and foundation slabs in order to maximize moisture retention.
European black garden ant workers forage indoors where they will consume just about any human food source that they encounter. These ants will eat meats and other protein-rich foods in addition to sweets, and workers are capable of leaving a pheromone trail 100 feet long in order to allow fellow nestmates to find their way to indoor and outdoor food sources. European black garden ants tend to be most active around homes during July and August, and swarms emerge from colonies during the late summer and early fall seasons. Queens of this species have been documented as living for nearly 30 years, making them one of the longest living insects known to humankind. Another black ant species that commonly infests homes in Pennsylvania is the black carpenter ant. These ants may nest within structural wood, but most of the time they invade homes in order to secure human food sources. Black carpenter ant workers are easy to recognize due to having one of the largest bodies of all ant species.
Have you ever found black ants congregating within your home?
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