Many people cannot differentiate among different species of ants due to a lack of knowledge about their distinct physical and behavioral features.
How Do You Identify a Pyramid Ant? You can identify a pyramid ant by its reddish-brown, yellow, or black body color, rotten coconut-like body odor, smaller appearance, pyramid-like projection on the thorax, and single node. It is almost 1.5 to 3.5 mm long and weighs 2 to 3mg. Volcano-shaped or pyramid-like nests are characteristic features of this species that are present in open and sunny areas.
It is essential to recognize the species of ants to treat the infestation properly; otherwise, incorrect identification can lead to failure in the removal of ants from the property.
How To Identify a Pyramid Ant?
Pyramid ants are tiny insects belonging to a group of ants that are named for a pyramid-like structure on the thorax region. It is the distinguishing feature that makes them different from others.
It is scientifically known as Dorymyrmex bureni and belongs to the Dorymyrmex family of ants that are characterized separately for their distinct body shape and behavior.
They appear in reddish brown, yellow, or black color with some greyish hues on their bodies. The first two segments are brownish, while their abdomen appears black or darker.
Their body color is lighter in the early stages of their lifecycle and becomes darker over time. They produce an odor like a rotten coconut after crushing, which makes them different.
Moreover, there is only a single node or bump in the region between the thorax and abdomen. They share many features with other ants and possess 2 antennae on their head without a club.
Six legs are attached to the thorax regions and support their bodies for a stable walk on the ground.
In addition, they have slender bodies that look like a twig and sometimes appear like pavement and sugar ants, which can cause confusion.
What is the size of a pyramid ant?
Pyramid ants are small-sized insects with bodies smaller than an inch. The workers are around 1.5 to 3.5mm long, which is relatively shorter than other colony members.
Reproductive males or drones are a few millimeters larger than workers, reaching almost 3 to 5mm in body length. They possess wings and fly higher in the air during a nuptial flight.
The queens are the biggest members of the pyramid ant colony, which is 2 times the worker’s size. These reproductive females can reach up to 7mm in body length under ideal conditions.
So, you can find variations in the body size of different castes in a colony, but all the workers are the same size, collectively forming a workforce.
Additionally, they are light in weight due to their small bodies and are only 2 to 3mg by weight, while queens are relatively higher as they have bigger abdomens.
Furthermore, their eggs are small in size, turning into larvae and pupae and increasing in size. These pupae look bigger due to the egg sac and turn into adults after the removal of the sac.
How long do pyramid ants live?
Pyramid ants have varying lifespans, depending on their caste, environmental conditions, the availability of food, and the risk of predator attacks.
On average, the worker ants can live for a few months because their lifespan is naturally shorter. Their replacements are easily available because each colony lays hundreds of eggs each day.
These eggs usually turn into sterile workers that remain engaged in nest activities in their life and die after the completion of the lifecycle.
However, the queens can survive for many years due to good diet and care. She has less risk of attack from predators compared to workers because she lives inside nests.
These reproductive females can live for approximately 10 to 12 years in ideal conditions, but they can die earlier due to disturbance of nests and contact with toxic substances.
In addition, the reproductive males have relatively shorter lifespans and live for only a few weeks. They are only produced at the time of breeding when queens need a mate for reproduction.
They die after a few days of landing on the ground because their only purpose is to mate with their females and move sperm in their abdominal pouch.
What do pyramid ants eat?
Pyramid ants are not dangerous and have an omnivorous diet but prefer to eat sweet foods with a pleasant smell that can entice their odor receptors and provide instant energy.
However, they are predacious and carnivorous insects and primarily target living insects to kill them and get proteins from their muscular bodies.
They are also deadly for ants belonging to the same category of insects and feed on fire ants that are considered quite dangerous.
They are providing benefits to the ecosystem indirectly by becoming natural predators of the pest population and using them as a food source.
In addition, they feed on a variety of food types ranging from non-insect sources, like sweet nectar or honeydew, and choose live or dead insects as food.
They usually target garden pests because they make nests outdoors and capture the small insects living in the grass or inhabiting the plant.
Furthermore, they reach a plant surface after aphids or other honeydew-producing insects and suck their sweet excretions for nutrition.
Sugar spills and sweet foods on the floor can attract these ants inside the home because they like to eat sweet food items to treat their taste buds and bodies.
Where do pyramid ants live?
Pyramid ants are native species of North America and are widely distributed throughout the United States but are abundant in Mexico, West Indies, and South America.
Moreover, these insects prefer to live outdoors and build nests in open spaces. They do not invade wooden logs, pavements, and attics and look for suitable areas in the garden.
You can see their nests in lawns and open spaces and choose areas with direct exposure to sunlight. They dig underground tunnels and live in the soil under the log or rocks.
In addition, you can also find them living under the leaf litter or debris above the ground surface. They can reach indoors for food; otherwise, they avoid living in shady spaces.
You can identify their nests or infestation in the backyard by seeing the volcano-shaped nests. They form a circular crater around the opening point of a nest and look like a pyramid.
Trails of yellowish-brown insects outdoors that are coming from volcano-shaped nests indicate an infestation of these ants.
Furthermore, it becomes easy to deal with their population when you know about the possible signs of infestation.
How big is a pyramid ant colony?
Pyramid ant colonies are small to medium in size after reaching the maturity stage because their colonies contain a small number of insects.
Almost 500 to 1000 ants are present in their colonies, which is relatively smaller as a few colonies of ants can reach up to millions of insects.
They do not keep multiple queens as it is difficult for a few hundred workers to take care of the colony and multiple queens simultaneously.
So, they prefer to keep only one queen in their nests and care for her nutrition and needs. Sometimes, their colonies can become polymorphic, having more than one queen in the nest.
It happens at different times of the year according to the colony’s requirements when they need a large number of eggs for the survival of their population.
So, they can adjust to changing environments and build small underground nests to accommodate their small colonies in one place.