Types of Ants in Colorado

More than 200 species of ants are commonly present in Colorado as it provides a mild climate all-year round and remains humid and warm, which are ideal conditions for these insects.

Types of ants in Colorado include Caribbean crazy ants, pavement ants, harvester ants, little black ants, velvet ants, carpenter ants, sugar ants, and odorous house ants.

Ants are known to be the topmost nuisance pests among bees, cockroaches, earwigs, spiders, and other insects commonly found in Colorado.

Types of ants Nesting location Lifespan Breeding time
Caribbean crazy ants Soil, trash, decaying wood 75 to 85 days March to April
Pavement ants Spaces in pavement, wall voids 4 to 5 years June to July
Harvester ants Soil, garden, wall cracks 12 to 20 years June to October
Little black ants Lumber piles, rocks, bricks 1 to 2 years June to August
Velvet ants Sand cemeteries, lawns 9 to 12 months July to September
Carpenter ants Doors, Sofa frames, windows 8 to 12 weeks April to July
Sugar ants Wall spaces, pipes, landscapes 6 to 7 years March to May &

September to October

Odorous house ants Boards, damaged wood, rocks 2.5 to 3 years June to August

 Caribbean crazy ants

They are golden-brown and reddish-brown insects with six legs supporting the movement as they have to walk long distances away from their nests.

Nylanderia pubens are 3 to 6 mm long and possess true antennae. They are commonly found in outdoor landscapes in Colorado or move indoors.

They have one node segment, and thorax is not smooth from all sides, making them look uneven.

In addition, they are also known as crazy or raspberry crazy ants for their jerky movements. They do not follow a straight pheromone trail when foraging in the territory.

They can get inside the electrical outlets due to attraction to electrical charges and change their direction of movement towards the outlet.

Moreover, you can find their nests under wooden logs or between cracks in concrete floors or cemented walls. These reddish insects are seen crawling close to tree stumps or sidewalks.

In the same way, the areas close to the base of buildings and landscapes can also provide a favorable spot for these tiny creatures to multiply.

Their colonies comprise 1500 to 2000 members and multiple queens that can be 30 to 40 in number. However, it can extend to millions of members resulting in the colony splitting.

Furthermore, these insects prefer to eat dead insects and aphids in addition to honeydew or sugars.

Their defensive strategies include covering bodies with formic acid to make themselves unappealing to other insects. They can also bite you hard to protect themselves from death.

They can pose structural damage to buildings as they are responsible for short circuits or equipment failure after entering the electrical switches.

Pavement ants

Tetramorium caespitum has a constricted waist and two nodes making them different species. They have a longer lifespan of 4 to 5 years, but queens can survive for more than 5 years.

Queens are larger in size than workers and can reach almost 7 to 8mm in length. Their antennae and legs are lighter in color than other regions of their body and appear in a light brown shade.

Moreover, they have a stinger and antennae with 12 segments and a club with 3 segments. Small spines are also present on the queen’s thorax region but are not present on the males.

Their colony weighs around 5.5 to 6.5g, comprising 8,000 to 10,000 members. The size of colonies increases during June and July as it is their breeding time.

They are usually outdoor pests and live within small pavement cracks or under slabs. However, it can move indoors after finding a way to sneak through it and reach moist or warm places.

Harvester ants

Two types of ants from this species live in Colorado, including rough and western harvester ants. They choose open spaces or grasslands in addition to the eastern plains of the region.

Moreover, a few of these insects also choose San Luis Valley to live and propagate their colonies. They create flat mounds with intricate tunnels within the soil rising a few inches above the ground.

Clear vegetation and the presence of gravel around the mound indicate their presence. These insects have bigger heads and sharp mandibles as they have to crack the hard shells of seeds.

They choose other dead or living insects for nutrition when they do not get access to seeds for long. These can become aggressive if someone tries to destroy their nests or kill fellows.

The defensive strategies include stinging or biting, but they cannot sting on harder exoskeletons or thicker layers of skin because the length of the stinger is small enough to penetrate.

In addition, you can see swarming insects after rain, particularly in the month between June and October. They have a longer lifespan of 12 to 18 years and can live for almost 20 years in captivity.

Little black ants

You have to deal with a large number of tiny black ants in the months of June, July, and August, as it is the mating season for little black ants.

The population density increases in addition to the demands for food to feed the larvae and pupae to promote their ideal growth and development.

These insects complete their gestation period within 35 to 40 days and become adult insects. They can survive for almost 1 to 2 years without risk of predators.

Furthermore, they prefer to hide beneath the rocks and bricks and choose lumber piles to spend their lives by forming tunnels inside to accommodate the colonies.

Velvet ants

Almost 70 to 80 species of these velvety insects are present in the eastern and western regions of Colorado and commonly occupy open fields.

Some of these common insects are native to Colorado, including Timulla vagans, Photopsis clara, Odontohotopsis fallax, Pseudomethoca sanbornii, Dasmymutilla vestita, etc.

They belong to the Multillidae family and Hymenoptera order and are known for their distinctive bright color and hairy bodies, making them appear like velvety soft bodies.

Orange, yellow, and red color hair are present all over their body, in addition to thin strips of black hair on some parts of their body. They have varying lengths ranging between 4 to 18 mm.

In addition, these insects prefer to consume other insects like flies, bees, and beetles and get nutrition from their tiny bodies. They can also eat pollen and nectar from flowering plants.

They are not aggressive until their nests get disturbed but are known for their deadly stings.

Females possess a painful stinger used to inject a poison that can leave them in pain for many hours.

It is named cow killer for the poisonous stings when they inject formic acid into the bodies of prey or predator and make them die after stinging multiple times.

Carpenter ants

They are one of the most prominent species of ants in Colorado as their colonies are spread in different regions, and the total number of colonies or wood ants is more than others.

Most commonly, you can find these insects close to wooden platforms as they build nests in wet wood because it chews and makes tunnels inside.

They build inside a wood material that is not painted or stained with chemicals or passes through a decaying or rotting process.

You can identify these insects with a spike on their abdominal region and sawdust close to their nests. Moreover, they can also reach moist places or food spills on the floor for nutrition.

Most probably, a decaying wood inside the house invites these pests and makes them come inside to chew and make their home. So, it is better not to avoid the weakened structure and fix them.

Accordingly, they can get attracted to wooden windows, decaying doors, and other furniture items like chairs or sofas made of wood.

The presence of wood ants within a sofa frame indicates that there are many ants in the outdoor areas as they build satellite nests indoors.

Banded Sugar ants

They are named for their food preferences, as these insects have a sweet tooth and choose sugary foods over salty or greasy options. You can find sugar ants crawling on cakes, candies, or juices.

Moreover, drops of fizzy drinks on the floor can also attract these pests due to their high sugar content. The sugar syrups, honey, and even sweet secretions of mealybugs can allure them.

Accordingly, they are commonly found in kitchen cabinets or countertops in search of sweet food items and get a chance to sneak through a small hole in a jar having a loose lid.

You can see swarming sugar ants in the months of March to May as the spring season favors their flights for mating in addition to September to October.

So, you have to deal with many of these crawling insects in the breeding season as their demands for food will increase with an increasing population.

Camponotus consobrinus has a brown to orange colored body with black heads and get attracted to sugary foods. This banded sugar ant does not sting but can bite without serious harm.

They build nests in the landscapes or outdoors but can move inside through pipes or wall spaces to reach the food source. These have a longer lifespan and live for almost 6 to 7 years at maximum.

Odorous house ants

They are commonly found ants in Colorado and is usually hidden under damaged or decaying wooden boards and larger rocks.

These insects usually mate in the early summers or the months of June, July, and August when the weather is suitable for the nuptial flight.

They do not mate in the winter season and wait for spring or summer because they have a shortage of resources in cold weather when workers cannot leave their nests.

Accordingly, they avoid breeding to avoid the consumption of nutrients and increase their population during warm weather.

Moreover, they can survive for 2.5 to 3 years on average. The incubation time required for an egg to become larvae is 10 to 25 days, but it can get slightly altered due to diet or environment.

However, the larvae turn into pupae in 15 to 35 days and can become adults in around 20 to 25 days. So, the life cycle of odorous house ants takes around 4 to 8 weeks to complete.

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