Cornfield Ant Scientific Name: Iridomyrmex humilis
Cornfield ants are common outdoor ants and are light to dark brown in appearance. Found in fields (hence the name) but rarely inside homes, cornfield ants build visible, crater-like nests. Nests may appear near or underneath bricks, stones, sidewalks, cracks in pavement, and in rotting logs. Although nests are not located indoors, cornfield ants will often scavenge in homes for sweet foods.
A bite from the cornfield ant is not any more serious than most ant bites. The bite can be treated with basic over-the-counter medications, such as calamine lotion and antihistamine, which will help alleviate the pain and stop the itching.
Cornfield Ant Control
Although cornfield ants create minimal disturbance, since their nests are located outdoors, you may still wish to contact a professional to exterminate your cornfield ants. The professional will use one or more of the following methods.
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- Insecticide barriers: This treatment is way more effective than any “No trespassing!” signs you may have put up. It consists of putting insecticide chemicals on or close to places of entry for cornfield ants. One example involves putting a coating of insecticide on doorsills to kill or repel intruding ants.
- Poisoned baits: Sponsor a feast for your unwanted guests. This treatment entails putting out toxic bait that the ants readily carry back to their humble abode for their—unbeknownst to them—last meal.
- Nest toxicants: Make it rain on their parade. The most effective of all treatments involves dousing the nest and surrounding area directly with toxicants. This is best when the nest is located outside (which is exactly where cornfield ants build their nests).
Cornfield Ant DIY Pest Control
Cornfield ants nest outdoors, they can still present a nuisance, especially when they form swarms during the summer months. Lend an ear to these suggestions for ridding yourself of cornfield ants.
- Make your own bait with boric acid: Combine 2 tablespoons of boric acid with 1 cup powdered sugar. Dust the anthill with the resulting product. The boric acid will either kill ants on contact or be carried back to the nest by hungry ants which will soon die from the chemical.
- Boiling water: Slowly pour at least two to three gallons of boiling water on top of the cornfield ant mound. This is most effective after rain when the interior tunnels are muddy and hard to navigate. The boiling water method can kill up to 60% of the colony. Add dish soap or 1 cup of salt to kill any stragglers. (However, keep in mind that handling boiling water is dangerous, and boiling water can kill vegetation and make soil less fertile).
Cornfield Ant Green Solutions
If you’re interested in an environmentally-friendly way to rid yourself of cornfield ants, consider the following green solutions.
- Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a substance comprised of crushed marine animal shells. When carried to the nest, the particles cause dehydration within 24 hours.
- Your mom was right; you need to clean your room! If you have a problem with cornfield ants, you need to do some thorough cleaning. Sweep areas free of food crumbs, wash the floors, vacuum, clean recyclable containers before using, etc. You may even want to apply a vinegar-water solution on hardwood floors to destroy ant trails.
- Hide your stash of food: Keep sugary foods in tight containers and store in the fridge. Check to make sure the gasket of the fridge completely seals. Clean off crumbs from all kitchen surfaces. Place pet food bowls in a tray of water.