Everything Pennsylvania Homeowners Need To Know About Larger Yellow Ants And Pavement Ants
The ants that are known for invading homes are generally nuisance pests, and with the exception of the European fire ant, ant pest species in Pennsylvania are not considered a threat to human health. However, many ant pest species in the state are quite difficult to eradicate from the homes and buildings that they infest, and while ant pests in the mid-Atlantic region are largely nuisance pests, carpenter ants are considered both nuisance and economic pests, as they sometimes compromise the structural integrity of homes by nesting within a home’s lumber components. According to Steve Jacobs, senior extension entomologist at Penn State, in addition to the black carpenter ants, pavement ants are the most common ant pests to infest homes in Pennsylvania.
The pavement ant workers that are often spotted foraging within and around homes are reddish-brown to black and are about ⅛ of an inch in length. These ants generally nest outdoors and enter homes in large numbers in order to seek out a variety of food sources, including sweets, meat, nuts, and bread. Pavement ants generally nest outdoors in the soil beneath sidewalks, concrete slabs, stones, and near the foundations of homes. These ants enter homes through cracks in concrete slabs and foundations, but in rare cases they may establish nests within wall voids, under floors and within the insulation. These ants are well controlled with baits, and infestations can be prevented with perimeter treatments.
Another common ant pest species in Pennsylvania is the larger yellow ant, and unlike the foul-smelling odors secreted by another common ant species, the odorous house ant, larger yellow ants emit a pleasant odor that is reminiscent of citronella, which is why these ants are often referred to as citronella ants. Worker ants of this species are around 3/16 of an inch in length and are yellow to reddish-brown in color. These ants are known for establishing indoor nests within wall voids on occasion, and their outdoor nests can be found in soil beneath the foundations of homes, stones, patio blocks, logs, bricks, concrete slabs, and sidewalks. Larger yellow ants are also known for nesting within rotting wood, and they often excavate concrete, but they do not damage foundations, masonry or wood. These ants often swarm into homes during the summer and fall months, but they can also swarm indoors during the winter when the ant pests are nesting beneath heated concrete slabs. Small infestations of larger yellow ants can be handled with a vacuum cleaner, but serious infestations require professional-grade insecticides.
Have you ever caught a whiff of citronella after crushing a yellow-colored ant?
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