Field ants get their name from being so common outdoors, especially in fields. The genus contains about one-sixth of our entire ant fauna. Some species are commonly called “thatching ants” because of their habit of constructing a mound or thatch of plant material, often grass. Field ants are found throughout the United States.
APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOR
Field ant workers measure about 1/4 inch long and may be brown, black, reddish or a combination of these colors. The thorax profile is not evenly rounded on upper side and has a distinct notch halfway or so along the top surface. Although no they don’t have stingers, these ants will bite and spray pungent-smelling formic acid onto provokers.
Because of the size and diversity of this genus, few generalizations can be made about Field ants. They exhibit such behavior as slave-making and temporary social parasitism of various kinds, as well as several different methods of nest construction. Colony size varies considerably: for example, some Field ant colonies have nests of about 20,000-94,000 ants.
FIELD ANT CONTROL AND PREVENTION
The best step to take in an effort to prevent field ant infestation is making sure to always clean up food messes. You should quickly clean up food and beverage spills from floors, porches and decks (including pet food) to discourage foraging by these ants indoors and near buildings.
Vacuum up field ants that get inside with a vacuum hose attachment. Prevent honeydew-producing insects from infesting nearby trees. If insects do infest the trees, periodically spray the trunks with a 1 or 2% detergent solution.
PROFESSIONAL PEST CONTROL
A Plunkett’s technician will apply a perimeter treatment with a residual insecticide to discourage structural entrance by field ants. Spot treatments using residual or bait insecticides will be made to obvious mound nests located in the ground.