Types of Ants in Idaho

Idaho provides ideal climatic conditions for almost 80 to 90 species of ants to live and increase in number by building safe nests and mating with the male drones.

Types of ants in Idaho include carpenter ants, argentine ants, thief ants, pharaoh ants, pavement ants, harvester ants, cornfield ants, red wood ants, odorous house ants, big-headed ants, little black ants, and raspberry crazy ants.

A large number of ants occupy different regions of Idaho, and their colonies are commonly found in the lawns, firewood, and trees, but fire ants are not found in this region.

Ants in Idaho Dietary habits Body length
Carpenter ants Sweet food, insects, plant juices 6 to 10 mm
Argentine ants Pet food, vomit, faeces, plant sugar 2 to 3 mm
Thief ants Sweets, animal carcasses 1.5 to 2 mm
Pharaoh ants Meat, candies, bread 1.5 to 2 mm
Pavement ants Grease, seeds, honeydew 2 to 3 mm
Harvester ants Seeds, fruits, vegetables, insects 5 to 8 mm
Cornfield ants Honeydew, nectar, seeds 2.5 to 5 mm
Red wood ants Honeydew, plant matter 4 to 9 mm
Odorous house ants Cheese, meat, nuts 1.5 to 3 mm
Big-headed ants Arthropods, honeydew, insects 2 to 4 mm
Little black ants Debris, seeds, nectar  1.5 to 2 mm
Raspberry crazy ants Worms, insects, honey 2.5 to 3 mm

Carpenter ants

Dry and moist wood is equally prone to the attack of carpenter ants as their chewing mandibles can remove the wood flakes and collect sawdust in the mouth.

These insects spit collected sawdust on the ground close to wooden logs and can be used as an indicator to find the colonies inside the home.

Moreover, their body length ranges between 6 mm and 10 mm, which means they are slightly larger than the majority of ants. They have bigger eyes and multiple ommatidia for better vision.

In addition, they do not chew wood to eat it as they remove wood to create tunnels and live inside the log for a long time, but it negatively impacts the wood’s strength.

Multiple species of these insects are found in Boise, Idaho, including Camponotus hyatti, Camponotus maccooki, and red or western black carpenter ants.

Argentine ants

It is one of the common garden pests as they can destroy natural areas and kill the native organisms as they prefer to eat the worms, insects, and other ants belonging to different species.

Their colonies can give off a musty odor when they die collectively because the massive killing of these tiny creatures can produce a noticeable odor that gets detected by nose receptors.

In addition, they can cause food contamination and become a significant problem within the buildings. They spread by budding when queens leave the nest with a few workers.

It has been widely spread in many different states of America but is native to Argentina. These invasive species threaten the urban and natural forests and agricultural habitats.

Thief ants

It is known as Solenopsis molesta in the scientific community and got several other names according to its behavior and appearance. Their mounds are usually present in meadows and open fields.

These insects create nests close to other species to avail themselves of a chance to steal their eggs and larvae for nutritional purposes.

It appears yellowish or dark brown and lacks erect hair on their bodies. Moreover, their antennae are divided into 10 segments and a two-segmented club at the end.

Moreover, they have nodes in the petiole region, uneven thorax, and a lack of spines. They feed on greasy foods, dead insects, animal carcasses, and even rodents that can provide enough nutrition.

These tiny creatures can sneak into the packaged food to consume the sweet food particles or sugar syrup and bring the particles back into their nests.

Pharaoh ants

They are meat-loving insects and eat sweet food items like candies and bread to revive their body energies and allow cells to function.

They have pale bodies, six legs, antennae, and a segmented body. Their nests can be present in nearly inaccessible areas, like baseboards and wall voids.

It carries harmful pathogens and transfers them to food items on the kitchen countertop or other usage items when moving across the rooms.

In addition, you can protect your house against these notorious creatures by keeping the firewood dry and at a distance from the buildings and trimming the tree’s long branches.

Pavement ants

The black or dark brown ants with wings are usually seen swarming on paved surfaces or sidewalks at the end of the summer or spring season.

Queen ant live on a suitable spot on the ground after mating and burrow down deep into the soil. She needs a warm place to lay eggs and hide from predator attacks.

These are known to build mutual relations with aphids for the sake of honeydew or sweet secretions to get nutrition. These are not harmful invaders and destroyers but are nuisance pests.

Moreover, these territorial insects form larger colonies based on thousands of members and fight to the death in a battle with organisms belonging to other species or genus.

Harvester ants

These insects have long and narrow bodies in addition to six legs, two eyes, and antennae. Only reproductive members, like queens and drones, possess wings as they have to fly for a nuptial flight.

You can identify these harvesting species by their sharp and larger mandibles and bigger heads that can help them break seeds and transport them to nests for storing purposes.

They have short stingers but are responsible for severe pain lasting at least 5 to 6 hours. In addition, they prefer to build mounds in sunny areas to allow the entry of warm rays into the nest.

Their nests can be easily seen as these insects remove vegetation to create mounds, and clear areas on the grassy surfaces make them visible.

Cornfield ants

Lasius alienus prefer hot and humid days to mate, unlike other species looking for a spring season to engage themselves in a mating flight.

Queens are responsible for caring for the first generation until the brood passes through developmental stages and becomes adult workers.

Their nests look like craters and are usually found on lawns and other grassy surfaces. They live close to the corn plant and damage the integrity of the corn plant by hatching aphids.

It rarely happens that these outdoor pests make their way inside the home, but the absence of food in the environment can force them to reach food in the kitchens.

Red wood ants

It is also known as southern wood or horse ants belonging to a group of insects in Formica rufa. These insects build larger colonies comprising 100,000 workers and invade larger surface areas.

Moreover, these do not sting by injecting stingers into body tissues but spray the poisonous chemical on the bodies of enemies and make them die due to the toxicity of poison.

Their head contains two tiny eyes and sparse hairs of longer length distributed on their thorax and abdominal region. Their bodies produce a citric odor after getting crushed.

Furthermore, these insects fly to mate in the months of May, June, and July as the weather is warm and cozy at this time to favor their flights.

Their mounds are commonly seen in deciduous and coniferous forests and hide behind the leaves and within the pine needles.

Additionally, their nests look like inverted domes but are sunken from the middle region, which can be a strategy to get better exposure to the sun or protect themselves from scorching sun rays.

Odorous house ants

These insects get attracted to sweet food items like honeydew secreted by the soft-bodies insects, aphids. The moist surfaces can become the source of attraction as they have to keep bodies moist.

However, rainy weather forces them to leave the nests and get inside the buildings to ensure their safety and avoid the risk of flooding.

You can find their colonies under firewood stacks and wood infested with termites, as they need a small hole to enter the log and make their way inside by chewing the material.

Little openings or cracks close to the foundations of the building can make them come down to the ground and affect the stability of the building in the long term.

Big-headed ants

Different types of big-headed ants are found in Idaho, like Pheidole californica or California big-headed ants that build nests in arid conditions having high clay content.

These need 60 to 65% humidity level and are warmth-loving insects that can grow well at 82 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Rocks or wooden logs provide a suitable medium for these insects to live.

In addition, the hairy big-headed ants or Pheidole pilifera are also present in sunny places and make small anthills to accommodate monogynous colonies having only one queen.

These hairy insects eat proteins in addition to glucose-rich foods by reaching the dead carcasses of fruit flies, mealworms, roaches, and crickets.

Some areas are reported to have greenhouse big-headed ants or Pheidole anastasii that are arboreal species and enter the greenhouse. These can attack plant stems and suck sap from them.

Moreover, their colonies are monogynous, and all major and minor workers look alike. These get attracted to carbohydrate-rich food resources like honey, nectar, sugar water, etc.

Little black ants

They have round-shaped thorax and a 12-segmented antenna with a 3-segmented club at the end. Their bodies have a shiny sheen, unlike other species, and they look like gleaming little creatures.

Moreover, these insects are highly adaptive, can survive in various conditions, and usually live outdoors. Cement cracks, carpeted floors, and decaying trees are suitable spots for them to live.

Their colonies are not small, contain a few thousand to a hundred thousand members, and are spread on a larger surface area.

You can see their mating swarms at the end of summer, from June to August, when the new winged females leave their nests to start a new colony on their own.

Raspberry crazy ants

It is also known as tawny crazy ants and has uniformly long bodies containing one node in the petiole region. Their antennae are 12-segmented and possess an acidopore covered in a hairy ring.

Moreover, their foraging trails are not arranged in a straight line and are random, as they begin to crawl when there is a disturbance in their nests.

Their colonies contain workers, queens, and brood all time of the year, but drones and new winged females are produced during mating season.

Furthermore, their mounds are not centralized and are usually designed to be inside the soil. Therefore, they are usually known to invade the timbers, debris piles, and larger rocks.

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