Ant Head Hunter
Formica Ants are part of an ant species that include wood ants, mound ants and field ants. They are medium sized ants at ¼” in average length. This ant might not be the largest in the ant world but certain species can be quite vicious within their insect habitat. They shoot acid at other ants, rip them apart and collect their skulls. Other species raid and make indentured servants of other ants and some species actually herd aphids to create their food source. This rabid, yet crafty ant does inhabit Nashville, Tennessee and can be a pest control issue, with the death of the queen being the only way to get rid of the colony.
Formica Ants are often misidentified as carpenter ants. They are similar in size but the Formica has two humps in it’s thorax making a bump where it connects to the abdomen, where the Carpenter Ant only has one evenly shaped thorax. They are black, brown and red in appearance as is the carpenter ant, but the Formica Ant generally is smaller. They both share some of the same food sources; however Carpenter Ants cause damage to many homes by burrowing into the structural wood in order to make their nest. The Formica Ant is primarily an outside ant and makes their nests in mounds near trees or logs, but can also nest against your home. It is outside your home that they feed on their favorite food source: aphid honeydew. So, Formica Ants have developed the ability to track down aphids and herd them to keep them close and doing the hard work. By keeping them in a group, the aphids will feed on the surrounding plants, and then excrete the honeydew as a byproduct. The Formica Ant only has to eat this byproduct without doing any hard work, just keep the aphids in formation, follow them and eat their excretion.
Some Formica Ant species take over other ant colonies and enslave them to work and to help raise their young. As the queen kills the other adults, then she is left with the pupae to be born to what they think is their mother. Ants learn from this early stage what they are. Knowing only one mother, they become her slaves as she then lays her own eggs and these poor misled young ants actually take care of her eggs. Once the queen eggs hatch, they then begin one big army, thinking they are one family. It has been observed that these new armies will often then go and raid other nests, kill the adults and bring back the pupae to serve as even more enslaved ants of different species.
The most gruesome characteristic of some Formica Ants species is the killing of other ants and covering their mounds with their decapitated heads. These ants are able to shoot formic acid as a defense or for killing other prey. This acid is used to kill other ants; they then eat the ant and for some reason cover their mound nest with ant heads. Imagine a head hunter village of ants, where other ants are scared to tread. It is unknown why they engage in this activity, but it sure is strange.
While Formica Ants are not usually a Nashville Pest Control issue, they can be if they choose to build against your home. If you notice ant mounds, or are having other ant pest issues in or around your home make sure to give us a call at Certified Pest Control Nashville. Ants can be a difficult issue to solve, since they can travel long distances from their nest and into your home. So allow us to properly track and diagnose the best method to rid your home of an ant invasion. Our local family is happy to give you a free estimate and properly address your pest control issue. Choose our local family owned and operated business that cares about our quality of work and creating happy customers. Certified Pest Control Nashville should be your first choice to protect your home with year round pest preventative protection.