Ants Are Related to What?!?
Ants are closely related to bees and wasps. They are social insects that live in colonies that have various specialized groups. Most ants in a colony are workers and do most of the foraging for food, raising the young, and defend the colony. Ants have three body segments head, thorax and abdomen with a pinched waist. Most ants are identified by type of antennae (elbowed or clubbed) and by the number of nodes in between the abdomen and thorax. Reproductive ants are winged and are often mistaken as termites. Termites have two body segments and the same size pair of wings vs. ants having three body segments and forewings larger than their hind wings
Common Types of Ants
Carpenter ant – The carpenter ant is polymorphic meaning that there can be more than one size ant in the colony ranging from
1/8” to 1/2” with the queen up to 5/8”. Identified by having one node in between the thorax and abdomen and elbowed 12 segmented antennae without a club. They do not sting but their powerful jaws can produce a painful pinch. Carpenter ants attack wood that has high moisture content. They do not consume wood but cut galleries that leave behind sawdust like shavings.
Harvester Ant – Fairly large ¼” to ½” and orange to reddish in color. Antenna are 12 segmented without a club. 2 nodes between the abdomen and thorax. Found in fields their mounds are stripped of vegetation. The mound consists of small pebbles that have been excavated and usually have 3 entrances. Harvester ants are herbivorous and feed on seeds from the surrounding vegetation and are rarely found in homes. They will bite and have a mildly painful sting. There are two types of Harvester ants in Nevada the California Harvester and the Western Harvester.
Pavement ant – This ant gets its name from commonly having its nest under cracks in pavement. Light brown to black with paler legs 1/16” to 1/8”. Antenna have 12 segments with a 3-segmented club. 2 nodes between the abdomen and thorax. Colonies are fairly large containing 3-4000 ants and several queens. Outside they live under rocks or slab constructed homes. Foraging becomes a problem in homes during summer months.
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