Around 150 to 170 species of ants exist in Alabama and reside within houses or outdoors, depending on their requirement. However, almost 55 to 58 species are native to this region.
Types of ants in Alabama include arboreal ants, tawny crazy ants, black carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, acrobat ants, pharaoh ants, argentine ants, red imported fire ants, dark rover ants, and little black ants.
The external conditions of Alabama support pest growth and survival as summers are mild for their reproduction, and freezing winters make them move indoors.
|Ants in Alabama
|Asian needle ants
|Forest, open lands, patios
|3 to 7 months
|Fruits, meat, termites
|Tawny crazy ants
|Electrical equipment, timber
|3 to 4 months
|Black carpenter ants
|Rotting wood, door frames
|8 to 10 weeks
|Sweet food, dead insects
|Woodpiles, decaying trees
|3 to 5 months
|Insects, proteins, sugars
|Sidewalk, concrete floors
|5 to 7 years
|Meat, honeydew, grease
|Dark rover ants
|Wall voids, mulch
|5 to 10 months
|Honeydew, sweet food
|Odorous house ants
|Firewood, rocks, kitchen
|2 to 4 years
|Meat, nuts, sweet food
|Walls, kitchen, bathroom
|5 to 10 months
|Meat, grease, sugar
|Soil, trees, bird’s nests
|8 to 12 months
|Plant sugar, insects
|Red imported fire ants
|1 to 2 months
|Flower buds, fruit, crops
|Little black ants
|Wooden logs, stones
|1.5 to 2 years
|Meat, sugars, oil, grease
Asian needle ants
It is also known as Brachyponera chinensis, which prefers to build its nests in undisturbed forests, unlike other species. It appears in black or brown color, while the mandibles are orange in color.
The colony workers are almost 3 to 5 mm long and possess a stinger that can help fight off predators and kill them by stinging and releasing venom into their bodies.
They are commonly present in Alabama, and you can find their nests in backyards, parks, urban areas, and forests, as they usually hide under stumps, stones, and debris.
They prefer to feed on arthropods and termites, while decaying fruits or vegetables and dead insects can also attract these omnivorous creatures.
These insects do not follow trail pheromones for foraging; instead, foragers drop members on the source site.
Furthermore, they have unusual behavior of foraging and sting badly, so they need to be exterminated from the house for safety purposes.
Tawny crazy ants
These are destructive pests and cause structural damage by reaching inside the electrical outlets or chewing the rubber insulation of wires.
These insects are 2 to 3.5 mm long and appear golden or reddish brown. They possess shiny heads and segmented antennae but have no clubs.
In addition, they are also aggressive species and are widely known for their erratic movements as they do not follow a straight direction and keep moving randomly.
It happens due to longer legs that do not support a slower and straight motion, and it feels like they are taking some confused steps. Their colonies also grow like crazy as they are many times denser.
Moreover, you have to get control over their population growth and undesired entries that can pose a risk of short circuits and painful stings.
Black carpenter ants
It is also known as Camponotus pennsylvanicus, belongs to the species of carpenter ants but is bigger than little black ones and is widely distributed all over America.
They appear black and have 8 to 12-mm longer bodies as their larger mandibles help them chew through wood and build deep tunnels to live inside.
Additionally, it can help decompose rotting wooden logs by chewing them, but it can also create a problem for the building structure.
These insects build a mutual relationship with aphids to get honeydew or sweet secretions by tending them for growth. They can also search for food and attack dead insects or plants indoors.
Moreover, you can learn about them after seeing the sawdust close to a wooden log as they throw chewed wood outside. You can avoid them by keeping wood dry as they attack damp wood.
You can find these insects living in moldy areas that are highly moist because they get attracted to water or moisture. They are commonly present around woodpiles and decaying trees.
Most commonly, they are known to contaminate food instead of being a threat to humans. They prefer to feed on protein and carbohydrate-rich foods and consume living or dead insects.
Moreover, they are named acrobats for their unique behavior as they attain different positions when they feel threatened and prepare themselves for an attack.
Additionally, they have a shorter lifespan and live for around 3 to 5 months, while queens live longer for a few more years.
These insects usually live on paved surfaces, like driveways, sidewalks, and other concrete floors, as they can efficiently chew concrete material and reach hidden areas under the slabs.
The workers can live for around 5 to 7 years, while queens can live for more than 10 to 15 years. They eat a variety of food, including honeydew, grease, and meat, for nutrition.
Furthermore, they can damage concrete floors in the long term, and even flowers lose their structure when they reach plants for nectar or seeds, causing food contamination.
You can prevent these insects by blocking their entryways and storing the food in airtight containers to avoid their access.
Dark rover ants
Brachymyrmex patagonicus was primarily identified in Louisiana in 1976 but was recently introduced in urban regions of Alabama due to rapid expansion.
It is a tiny brown insect that extends from 1 to 2 mm in length and has long hair and larger eyes. They are commonly seen near flowering plants to consume nectar for nutrition.
Moreover, they prefer moist places to build their nests and are commonly located at the base of trees, trash piles, and mulch. They can reach pavements for foraging or swarming.
They are not known to cause any noticeable damage to buildings and landscapes. In addition, these insects do not bite or sting but attack plants to get nectars.
It is better to prepare baits against these insects to get control over their rapidly growing population, which can create a bigger problem as a large group.
Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants or Tapinoma sessile have smooth and black or brown colored bodies and are known for a particular coconut-like smell released from their bodies after getting crushed.
They can invade indoor areas during unfavorable weather and move under the carpet, close to water pipes, and behind the panels. They are usually present under the rocks and mulch outdoors.
These insects can attack inside the kitchen and contaminate the stored food in cabinets or pantries, like fruits, dairy products, vegetables, and baked items.
You can avoid these pests by using gel baits or placing some repelling substances like garlic, basil leaves, and cinnamon sticks.
It is considered the most annoying pests in Alabama due to their uncontrolled expansion, as they grow by budding and cover a large surface area in their territory.
Workers in a colony can survive for almost 5 to 10 months, but the queen can spend a few more months within the colony and lives for 8 to 12 months.
They prefer to eat sugary foods but collect meat and grease when their colony grows rapidly, and the new larvae need proteinaceous food.
You can find their nests in the walls, kitchen, and bathrooms as the sweet smell of food, the darkness of walls spaces, and the moist bathroom environment attract them.
They are prominent pests in Alabama, living within soil or tree cavities and even invade bird’s nests. They have larger colonies comprising multiple queens and growing at a fast rate.
The workers have a shorter lifespan and live only for 8 to 12 months at maximum. Moreover, these insects prefer to build their nests at places having plenty of food and high moisture.
In addition, these are not considered a severe threat due to lack of stinger but can transfer pathogens to food, causing contamination.
Furthermore, you can prevent them from entering the houses by keeping firewood away from the building and removing the standing water.
Red imported fire ants
The species of Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ants) are commonly spread in east-central Alabama in addition to its south part and North or South Carolina. They have black gaster and reddish brown colored bodies.
These are notorious species widely spread in many other US states, like Florida, Mississippi, Mexico, and Texas. The workers are almost 2.5 to 6mm long and possess 4 teeth.
In addition, they possess a long stinger that can cause a burning sensation after injecting the venom into the prey’s or predator’s body.
They have a shorter lifespan of only 2 to 3 months, while queens can survive for more than 5 years. They prefer to consume worms, invertebrates, fats, proteins, and sweet sugary substances.
It is better to prevent these insects from entering the home by making the place unattractive for these pests or using deadly insecticides for killing; otherwise, you have to deal with their stings.
Little black ants
Monomorium minimum is a tiny insect with black bodies extending from 1.5 to 2mm. They prefer to build their nests under the garden’s large stones and wooden logs.
Moreover, you can find these insects getting nutrition from various sources as they consider multiple options, including sugary substances, proteinaceous meat, and greasy and oily food.
They obtain nutrition from honeydew produced by aphids as these sweet secretions are part of their healthy diet. They can get inside a home when the external weather is not suitable for survival.
In addition, they possess stingers to inject poison into prey’s body, but it cannot help them due to smaller lengths that cannot reach deep inside the body.
It is essential to get control over their propagating colonies based on 1500 to 2000 workers by sealing the gaps in windows or walls and trimming the shrubs.