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LARGER YELLOW (CITRONELLA) ANT

INTRODUCTION: The most common species, the large yellow ant, is sometimes called “citronella ant”. These ants have a distinct citronella odor when they are crushed.

RECOGNITION: Workers are monomorphic (one worker size), about 1/16-1/8” long, yellowish red to yellowish brown in color. Queens are about 1/4” long, brown to dark brown in color. Males are about 1/8” long, dark brown to black in color. Workers give off strong citronella odor when disturbed or crushed.


 
 

HABITS: Inside, in areas like damp crawlspace, in moist wood, and between insulation and subflooring. Outside large nests are found under rotting wood, patio stones, rocks, landscape timbers, etc. These ants feed exclusively on honeydew obtained from the aphids they tend on plants. Because large yellow ants forage at night, customers seldom see them in structures.

BIOLOGY:  Very little is known about the biology of these ants. The large winged reproductives develop in the fall and overwinter, emerging in swarms often by the thousands, in the early spring through early fall. Colonies have only one queen.

 

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