Ants

Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae and along with the related wasps and bees, they belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. Today, more than 12,000 species are classified with upper estimates of about 14,000 species. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist.
Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of “workers”, “soldiers”, or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called “drones” and one or more fertile females called “queens”. The colonies are sometimes described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.
Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. Their success has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.
Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study.
Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication and rituals. Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents.[9] However, their ability to exploit resources brings ants into conflict with humans, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant, are regarded as invasive species, since they have established themselves in new areas where they have been accidentally introduced.
As pests
Some ant species are considered pests and because of the adaptive nature of ant colonies, eliminating the entire colony is nearly impossible. Pest management is therefore a matter of controlling local populations, instead of eliminating an entire colony, and most attempts at control are temporary solutions.
Ants classified as pests include the pavement ant, yellow crazy ant, sugar ants, the Pharaoh ant, carpenter ants, Argentine ant, odorous house ants, red imported fire ant and European fire ant. Populations are controlled using insecticide baits, either in granule or liquid formulations. Bait is gathered by the ants as food and brought back to the nest where the poison is inadvertently spread to other colony members through trophallaxis.

Utah Ants  

The most common types of Ants in Utah are…

Carpenter Ants – These large ants are indigenous to many parts of the world and are generally about 1/4  to 1/2 in. in size but can grow as large as 1 in.  They can be black or reddish brown in color and they prefer to build nests in dead, damp wood. Although carpenter ants can damage wood by chewing it, they do not actually eat it. Unlike termites, carpenter ants can leave a sawdust like material behind that can provide clues to a nesting location. The most likely species to be infesting a house in Utah is the Black carpenter ant. 

Pavement Ants/Sugar Ants – The pavement ant is dark brown to blackish in color and about one-eighth of an inch long. Their name comes from the fact that they usually travel through the seams and cracks in pavement. Pavement ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts, ice cream and cheese. Pavement ants do not typically pose a public health risk, but can contaminate food and should be avoided. Note: The term “sugar ant” is often used interchangeably with “pavement ant” however, true sugar ants are large black and orange ants exclusive to Australia.

Little Black Ants – Members of this species are extremely small and shiny black in color.  Workers are about 1/16th inch in length and the queens are about 1/8th inch in length. In doors, they are usually first seen in the Kitchen, Bathroom or Laundry Room but can spread to other areas very rapidly.  Little black ants will form multiple colonies with multiple queens and eggs laid by a queen can take just 10 days to hatch. This can make little black ants more difficult to get rid of than other species.

Other types of Utah ants…

Argentine Ants –

Pharaoh Ants

At least we don’t have these: Exploding ants

In at least nine Southeast Asian species of the Cylindricus complex, such as Camponotus saundersi, workers feature greatly enlarged mandibular glands. They can release their contents suicidally by rupturing the intersegmental membrane of the gaster, resulting in a spray of toxic substance from the head, which gave these species the common name “exploding ants”.[3]

Its defensive behaviors include self-destruction by autothysis. Two oversized, poison-filled mandibular glands run the entire length of the ant’s body. When combat takes a turn for the worse, the ant violently contracts its abdominal muscles to rupture its body and spray poison or glue in all directions.[4][5] The ant has an enormously enlarged mandibular (abdomen) gland, many times the size of a normal ant, which produces the glue. The glue bursts out and entangles and immobilizes all nearby victims. [6][7]

The termite, Globitermes sulphureus has a similar defensive mechanism.[8]

*Some of the cities that Awesome Pest Control in Utah has helped to remove Ants from include:  Alpine, Alta, American Fork, Birdseye, Bluffdale, Cedar Fort, Cedar Hills, Cedar Valley, Colton, Copperton, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Eagle Mountain, Elberta, Elk Ridge, Emigration, Fairfield, Genola, Goshen, Herriman, Highland, Holladay, Kearns, Lehi, Lindon, Magna, Mapleton, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Orem, Payson, Pleasant Grove, Provo, Riverton, Salem, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Santaquin, Saratoga Springs, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Spanish Fork, Springville, Taylorsville, Vineyard, West Jordan, West Valley City, White City and Woodland Hills.

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