Sugar Ant Scientific Name: Camponotus consobrinusm
Sugar Ant Identification
The Sugar ant has distinctive coloration: their bodies are usually orange to brown with black heads and black, protruding mandibles. This is a fairly large ant, getting as big as 15mm long.
Sugar Ant Habitat and Food Source
Sugar ants inhabit many parts of the earth, but highest numbers have been reported in Australia and the U.S.
You can find Sugar ants in forests and woodlands as well as urban areas. Because it has a diverse diet it also has a widespread habitat. Nests of the Sugar ant are recognizable by a large mound constructed around the entrance to the colony. These nests may be built between rocks, in the soil, in holes in wood, roots of plants, or twigs of trees and shrubs. As the Sugar ant goes in search of food, usually at night in warm weather, it will follow trails to and from the food source. These trails make the nest of the Sugar ant fairly easy to locate.
Most strongly attracted to anything sweet, the Sugar ant has a similar diet to other species of ants, which contains some things other than sugar. It feeds on dead insects and other small invertebrates as well as the honeydew from insects that consume sap (such as aphids, mealybugs, or whiteflies). The Sugar ant is known to venture indoors in search of food and may especially be seen in the kitchen and bathroom. These ants can be spotted by their heavy trails leading from food sources.
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How long do Sugar ants live?
Breeding takes anywhere from late spring to early autumn and is similar to the reproductive cycles of other ant species. Mating occurs when the winged queen ants fly away to start a new colony. Both queen and male Sugar ants “swarm” around entrances to other colonies until fertilization takes place. Once it does, the fertilized queen will make her own nest and lay her eggs. While pupating, the ant larvae are cared for and fed by the workers of the colony. Both the queen and male Sugar ants bear wings, but the female will shed her wings after mating and the male dies soon after.
Sugar Ants and Humans
What makes the Sugar ant a nuisance to humans is its love of food. Sugar ants will forage indoors for sugary and greasy food sources and if the food source is plentiful enough will even nest inside.
The Sugar ant does not have a stinger, but may sway its abdomen up defensively if found in a threatening situation. This ant also has the capability of spraying acid on predators and may attack in swarms if provoked. The ant may bite with its mandibles if it is feeling protective of its colony.
How are Sugar ant bites treated?
If the Sugar ant does bite, it is typically not painful and does not exhibit any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, however, positive identification of the species should be done immediately. Apply an antibiotic ointment and ice to the affected area.
The Sugar ant is considered a very serious pest, and if left unchecked can grow to be a big problem. Nests are usually unobtrusive but when built indoors are extreme annoyances. Use of do-it-yourself pesticides may be all it takes to get rid of a small Sugar ant infestation, consider professional help.