Allegheny mound ants are heavier and bigger insects with extraordinary behavioral features, allowing them to build unique mounds above the ground surface.
How Big Are Allegheny Mound Ants? Allegheny mound ants are almost 3 to 6mm long, while their queens are around 8 to 12mm long due to bigger abdomens. Their colonies contain nearly 1000 to 3000 ants that can fit inside a nest with a 6 to 18 feet diameter. Their head and thorax appear reddish orange, while the abdomen is black in color.
There are significant variations among different species of ants regarding their body size, weight, color, nesting habits, and colonies, as some species are bigger and heavier than others.
What is the size of Allegheny Mound ants?
Allegheny mound ants belong to a group of larger insects as their bodies are relatively bigger than other ants. It is native to North America and builds large mounds of soil in open areas.
In addition, they are named for their location, as they are found in Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. They also make mounds above ground and are named for this particular behavior.
The adult workers belonging to the Formica exsectoides are almost 3 to 6mm (0.1 to 0.2 inches) in length. They reach a maximum length of 6mm during ideal conditions, favoring their growth.
Moreover, they can grow well after getting proper warmth, food, moisture, and care during their developmental stages; otherwise, they attain smaller body sizes.
The queens are bigger in size as they can reach approximately 8 to 12mm in body length. Their body length also varies under different conditions, as they need good nutrition for bigger bodies.
Furthermore, the males or drones also have bigger bodies than workers and queens. They are around 6 to 9mm long and smaller than their mating partners.
How big are the Allegheny Mound Ants colonies?
Allegheny mound ants have large colonies comprising thousands of insects that live together in one nest built by a group of workers.
Their colonies contain approximately 1000 to 3000 individuals, depending on the nest size and time of year. Their colony size varies at different times of the year and reaches the maximum in spring.
In addition, you can see a large number of these ants coming out of their nests during early summer when all the male and female eggs mature and turn into adult swarmer.
These swarmers participate in nuptial flight and mating to raise their population, but they start a separate colony. This way, there is no increase in the population of the old colony.
Its population suddenly increases in spring when the queen lays hundreds or thousands of eggs that turn into males and females, but it declines after a mating period.
Moreover, their colonies contain more than one queen, meaning their population is controlled by multiple queens.
They can keep colonies stable by replacing the dead ants with new larvae, as their workers can only live for a short period.
What do Allegheny Mound Ants look like?
Allegheny mound ants share many physical features with other insects belonging to the family Formicidae in terms of body shape and basic features.
Like other ants, they also possess six legs, two antennae, mandibles, and two compound eyes, but their striking appearance and behavior create the difference.
However, a few differences in body color make them different from others, as they appear reddish-orange in color, while their legs and abdominal area are black.
They lack a stinger but possess strong mandibles used as weapons in deadly battles. This species is commonly present in regions extending from Nova Scotia to Georgia.
Furthermore, they have a single node in their bodies and possess 12-segmented antennae with a 3-segmented club on the end.
How long do Allegheny Mound Ants live?
Every species of ants lives for a different time duration according to environmental conditions, natural lifecycle, and other factors.
Allegheny mound ants have comparatively longer lifespans than many other species of ants, as their natural lifecycle allows workers to live for a few years.
Other species can live for a few weeks to several months or years, depending on their exposure to external conditions. These workers can die earlier due to predator attacks or harsh weather.
They cannot survive in harsh climatic weather and die before the completion of their lifecycle. In addition, their habitat also determines their lifespan, as warm or humid conditions support survival.
The queens have a longer lifespan than worker ants, who can live for around 12 to 15 years. She lives a more comfortable and ideal life than workers, so she lives for a long time.
Queen gets better nutrition than all colony members as she is the colony’s mother and relies only on workers for her nutrition and care.
Accordingly, there is less risk of toxicity and predation because she gets food indirectly from workers and spends her entire life within the nest before and after mating.
Furthermore, the drones have a shorter lifespan as they can only live for a few weeks and die after mating with the queen because they can mate for once in their life.
How big are the Allegheny Mound Ants’ nests?
Allegheny mound ants build bigger nests as their colonies contain thousands of individuals that require large spaces for accommodation.
They make soil mounds above the ground containing an opening point for the entry and exit of workers bringing food and going out for foraging.
Moreover, the size of the mound varies according to age because it increases in diameter and height over time, according to the increase in the nest population.
Their mounds are almost 1.5 to 2 feet in diameter at the age of 5 months and gain one extra foot length within 2 years. The mature mounds can reach nearly 6 feet in diameter and 30 inches in height.
However, some of them can reach around 9 feet in diameter, which appears like a mound of soil but contains a complex network of tunnels from inside.
Some of their mounds are known to reach around 15 to 18 feet in width and 3 to 3.5 feet in height, commonly seen in the older nests that are around 15 years old.
Only these ants are known to build larger mounds when their population increases from a few hundred to several thousand insects during suitable weather.
What do Allegheny Mound Ants prefer to eat?
Allegheny mound ants are outdoor insects that prefer to eat readily available food in lawns, gardens, and open areas of the backyard.
Their diet involves small insects and invertebrates that are easier to capture and hunt for these larger insects. They consume tiny garden pests and are beneficial for plants.
They are deadly predators of caterpillar larvae, wasps, crickets, flies, moths, grasshoppers, small bugs, and beetles that can easily become prey.
In addition, they also eat honeydew secretions produced by sap-sucking insects on the plant’s surface. These sweet secretions are an excellent source of carbohydrates for them and provide instant energy.
Moreover, they scavenge on dead arthropods and vertebrates but hunt living invertebrates of small size. They also attack leafhoppers and seeds to meet their body requirements.
These scavenging organisms feed on dead organic matter, mulch, leaves, and twigs to get proteins from their bodies and provide proteins to their growing larvae.