How Large Can Ant Colonies Become? Do All Ant Pests Prefer To Eat Only Sugary Human Foods?

Ants are eusocial insects that dwell in colonies that contain anywhere from a few hundred to well over one million individual ants. The number of ants within a colony varies depending on the species and the relative maturity of a particular ant colony. Generally, ant colonies mature at a faster rate than termite colonies, and most ant colonies that are associated with infestations contain tens to hundreds of thousands of individual ants or more. Most ant species show varying degrees of hostility to other ants of their own species, and therefore, ant colonies are usually isolated and are not associated with other colonies. However, a significant minority of ant species are tolerant toward ants belonging to foregin colonies just as long as the foreign ants are of the same species. Some ant species of this kind often form a network of interconnected colonies that can span many square miles below the ground, and contain millions of individual ants. These cooperative colony networks are known as “supercolonies,” and they are often formed by invasive ant pest species, such as red-imported fire ants and Argentine ants, both of which can be found in Louisiana.

Many ant species are capable of establishing nests both below and above the ground soil. Ant pests can become a problem when they establish subterranean colonies in residential yards, especially in cases where colony nests are located near the foundation of homes. Ants that nest near homes may venture indoors in large numbers in order to feed on human food sources. Ant pests that feed on honeydew and plant nectar usually have a taste for sweet-tasting human foods as well. Bull-headed ants, carpenter ants, and sugar ants are all known for feeding on sugary foods, but red-imported fire ants and grease ants prefer to feed on meat products. Pavement ants and Pharaoh ants are notorious for chowing down on just about any type of human food source that they encounter within a home. All of the above named ants are common home invaders throughout Louisiana.

Have you ever found ant pests in your kitchen and/or getting into your food?







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