Types of Ants in Alaska

Types of Ants in Alaska

A large number of ants are present in different regions of America, and the population density of these insects is higher than any other insects in Alaska.

Types of ants in Alaska include velvet ants, western harvester ants, mound ants, carpenter ants, Alaskan fire ants, Formica ants, Turfgrass ants, Red pavement ants, Hercules ants, and Blood-red field ants.

Ants are beneficial for the environment, so they need to be controlled in a friendly way, as their absence can create problems for survival on the planet.

Alaska provides favorable weather for the sustenance of insects as they prefer mild weather for propagation and better performance.

Ants in Alaska Scientific names Body color
Velvet ants Dasymutilla occidentali Red, brown, yellow, black
Western harvester ants Pogonomyrmex occidentalis Reddish brown, black
Mound ants Formica exsectoides Reddish black
Carpenter ants Camponotus pennsylvanicus Reddish brown, brown, black
Alaskan fire ant Myrmica Alaskensis Reddish brown, Light brown
Field ants Formica rufa Tan, red, black, brown
Turfgrass ants Lasius neoniger Reddish brown
Red pavement ants Tetramorium caespitum Blackish brown, light brown
Hercules ants Camponotus Herculeanus Brownish black, dark brown
Blood-red field ants Formica sanguinea Black, red

Velvet ants

They are commonly found in Alaska and prefer habitats like deserts, meadows, and fields. This species has a velvety appearance due to hairy bodies and appears orange with black stripes.

These insects are 6 to 20 mm long and can be easily identified due to striking hair color or fuzzy appearance. They are also known as cow killers, as their venom has the potential to kill a cow.

It prefers to eat nectar and larvae after becoming adults, as it can rely only on sweet secretions. The female workers convert food into energy required for activities or better performance.

However, the immature members in a colony need a variety of food resources and eat dead insects to get protein from their bodies. As a result, they have a shorter lifespan and live for 8 to 10 months.

Western harvester ants

They are known as harvesters due to their seed-collecting nature, as they feed on various seeds and collect them for storage. It prefers to live in dirt, arid grasslands, and deserts.

Their colonies are based on 2500 to 3000 workers that collect plant-based foods to feed the larvae. They are 6 to 10 mm long having darker bodies.

In addition, these insects can bite and sting, leading to painful sensations or soreness in the affected area.

Injection of venom from the stinger into the prey’s body initiates a series of allergic reactions in their bodies and makes them suffer from extreme pain.

Furthermore, these can cause damage to pavements and stripping of vegetation when foraging for food or building their nests. You can control them by keeping them away from vegetation or mulch.

Mound ants

Allegheny mound ant is a common species in Alaska, having a head and abdomen in crimson color while the stomach and legs appear in black or dark brown.

Their colonies contain multiple queens responsible for the rapid increase in population density. Workers are almost 3 to 5 mm long, while the queens can reach around 12 mm.

Most commonly, they prefer to eat sweet food rich in carbohydrates like nectar and plant sap, while a few of these insects consume dead insects to get protein at some part of their life.

Their lifespan is too short as they live only for 2 to 3 months. They prefer to build nests in open spaces like pastures and fields but can come indoors during rain.

They can destroy lawns or landscapes by stripping vegetation off. Furthermore, they do not sting, but you have to be careful of their deadly bites after disturbing their mound accidentally.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants have many species named for their abilities to chew wood and throw shavings on the ground because they do not chew wood for eating.

They are found here because the environment favors their growth and provides wet wooden logs for living.

Their length ranges between 2 to 13 mm, but the queens can reach almost 25 to 30 mm. Some appear in red or brown color, while a few have a mixture of black and red color.

Moreover, they have bigger colonies and raised population in summer, so it is essential to get rid of these pests to avoid the destruction of wooden furniture, baseboards, and floors.

Alaskan fire ant

Myrmica Alaskensis or Americana is commonly found in Alaska as it has adapted itself to the mild weather of this region, where the temperature never goes higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is a potentially dangerous species as its stings can leave the prey in extreme suffering and even lead to death if it stings multiple times in a repeated manner.

It is 3 to 7 mm long and appears black to red. This ant species is named according to its geographical location and burning effects, as it seems like a fire in the affected area.

Moreover, keeping it at a distance from the house is essential to avoid their stinging attempts and prevent painful bites by using insecticides against them.

Formica or field ants

These ants are usually found within trees or nearby land areas and are named wood ants. However, you can also find them living close to manmade structures like sidewalks or foundations.

In addition, their body length ranges between 3 to 7 mm, and they are known to form bigger trails extending from 80 to 100 meters. They prefer honeydew but can eat invertebrates for nutrition.

They do not inject venom into a predator’s body intending to kill it, but they can use larger jaws after detecting a threat. They live under larger stones or in the open grasslands.

Moreover, it is also known as a silky or red ant, and its body size is 4 to 10 mm. They are not considered dangerous but can become a nuisance pest within a home after uncontrolled growth.

Turfgrass ants

It is commonly known as sidewalk ant and Lasius neoniger in the scientific community. Moreover, these ants are found in parks or golf courses and build shallow nests within well-drained soils.

These insects are 3 to 4 mm long having brownish bodies ranging between light and dark shades. It consumes seeds, nectar, honeydew, and even fungi in addition to plant sap.

Additionally, these are not aggressive species and do not bite or sting until you interfere with their mounds. Their bites are small enough to remain unnoticed, so they are not dangerous insects.

Furthermore, their mounds can become a problem for the lawn as they can cause damage to grassy surfaces by thinning of surrounding turf and are not suitable for trees or golf courses.

Red pavement ants

They appear reddish brown in color and are commonly seen around pavements, sidewalks, or patios. They can also come inside in search of food or protect themselves from cold or rain.

They build nests indoors and hide behind walls or under the floor, where they have a lesser risk of attack from predators.

Moreover, they have smaller body sizes ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 mm. These species eat insects, honeydew, cheese, meat, and other food types.

In addition, you can detect them by their brownish-black body colors or by seeing the scouting ants in the kitchen close to food resources or the trash bin.

These insects are not responsible for any structural damage to the building and make their way through slabs to reach the ground soil.

However, you need to control their population by keeping the indoor areas clean to avoid the attack and removing the trash from bins to avoid the stinking odor.

Hercules ants

Camponotus Herculeanus is the largest carpenter ant that prefers to avoid warmth and chooses boreal forests to build its nests and come indoors for rotten woods and build a nest behind walls.

It likes to eat butterflies’ or insects’ larvae and grow aphids to obtain nutrition from their sweet secretions. The workers are 4 to 12 mm long, while queens can reach 16 mm in length.

They have larger jaws and hairy bodies and look similar to the Camponotus ligniperda, but the red spot on the abdominal area differentiates the two species.

In addition, their distinctive characteristic is to bore down the wooden logs and build deep tunnels to create space for colony members and new larvae.

Furthermore, the workers live only for 10 to 12 months and choose coniferous trees and rotten wood to spend their lives.

They can cause structural destruction and are responsible for significant loss; that’s why it is essential to get control of their propagation.

Blood-red field ants

Formica sanguinea belongs to the category of slave-maker ants and steals eggs of other ants species. It has red and black colored bodies and extends from 5 to 7mm.

Moreover, they form parasitic colonies, and the fertilized queen raids on another colony and kills their queen to make her brood.

You can also call it a robber due to stealing and attacking behavior on others nests. It is also known as one of the predominant species in Alaska.

Furthermore, it raids intending to use larvae for nutrition or to benefit from raising a new colony until the larvae become adults.

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