Allegheny Mound Ant: Facts, Identification & Control
The Allegheny mound ant, Formica exsectoides (Forel), is one of the most common mound-building ants.
Allegheny mound ants have a reddish head and thorax. The abdomen and legs are dark brown to black. The workers vary in size from 1/8 to ¼ They do not sting, but they bite if the mound is disturbed.The workers make galleries and tunnels in the ground. The tunnels extend as deep as three feet into the soil. As they dig, the workers pile the excavated soil up to make the mound. The mounds can reach three feet in diameter, especially in fields and wooded areas. The mounds that these ants build have frequently been mistaken for fire ant mounds. (These ants like shady areas, while fire ants prefer to nest in sunny areas.)
Allegheny mound ants nest in fields, pastures, and wooded areas. They also live in playgrounds and residential lawns in rural and suburban areas. They do not usually enter homes, but workers often forage on patios and decks.
Allegheny mound ants eat insects and honeydew. The workers protect aphids and other insects that produce honeydew. The ant workers sometimes damage trees and shrubs by chewing openings in the bark and spraying formic acid. If these ants are disturbed, they give off a distinct formic acid odor.
There are several methods of controlling Allegheny mound ants. Liquid insecticide, dusts, and ant baits can all be effective. The choice depends on the nest location and other factors. The treatment should kill the entire colony. If the treatment fails, the ant population can recover quickly. It is usually best to call a pest control professional.