Most people have never heard of the insect house pests commonly known as “white-footed ants,” and pest control professionals often have to consult with academic experts and entomologists in order to better understand how these ants can be controlled and properly identified. However, this ant is not a new species in Louisiana, and it has been infesting homes in the state for decades, but this ant’s pest behavior is largely unknown to pest control professionals because the species had been incorrectly identified as an entirely different species. The white-footed ant species is officially namedTechnomyrmex difficilis, but all literary sources written before 2007 refer to the species as Technomyrmex albipes. While these two species are similar in appearance and habitat distribution, they are very different in terms of foraging and nesting behavior. It is unfortunate that this mix-up occurred since white-footed ants are extremely difficult to eradicate from infested homes, with or without accurate information about their pest behavior.
The white-footed ant is not widely distributed in the US, as the species has only been identified in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, California and Louisiana. White-footed ants can be recognized for their small size, black exterior and white-tipped legs, and these ant pests are small enough to squeeze through the narrowest of cracks and crevices in order to access a home’s interior. There are several reasons as to why these ants are considered one of the most difficult pest species to control within infested homes. One reason has to do with the near impossibility of accurately identifying a queen. Like most ants, white-footed ant colonies start when two winged reproductives mate and produce workers, but unlike most ant species, white-footed ant queens die within a year, and are then replaced with a wingless reproductive female that looks identical to half of all the specimens within a colony. Since white-footed ants establish nests within wall voids, beneath baseboards, and in many other areas within a home, infestations can only be eradicated provided that the queen, or “primary reproductive,” is eliminated. If the queen is misidentified, then the actual queen will continue to reproduce offspring within a home. White-footed ant colonies have been known to contain 3 million specimens, and they pose a serious nuisance, but luckily, the pests do not bite or damage property.
Have you ever seen what you believe was a white-footed ant?
Tags: Ant Control, pest control, Pest Exterminating