Ants In Alabama: Studying The 3 Most Important Ants In Mississippi

Studying the 3 most important ants in Alabama is a thing of joy but is also saddening due to the bad experiences faced by the residents of Mississippi caused by these pests.

Even though there is a wide range of ant species in this one state, there are actually 3 ant species in Alabama that have stood out among the rest.

Among these ant species are some of the most ferocious ants on earth. Follow us as we explore the ants in Mississippi.

 

Introduction to the Ants in Alabama

In conjunction with our resource persons who have studied the ants within Alabama, we have estimated that there are about 170 ant species in Alabama, with 56 of them being the most common and biologically important in the region.

The ants of Mississippi are just like the normal regular ants and have 3 body parts, namely:

  • The head
  • The thorax
  • The abdomen

All ants have these 3 distinct body segments and 2 antennas. And just like the regular ants that can be found in most places in the world, the ants of Mississippi have wings (reproductive ants).

There are three ant species in Alabama, and they range in size from 0.125 of an inch to 0.5 of an inch. Yes, there are little and big black ants in Alabama.

As you read on, you will come to discover that amongst these ant species, there are different types of ants in Alabama that vary in coloration from brown to black and even red.

 

What are the 3 Most Important Ant Species in Alabama?

  • The ants that cause structural damage.
  • The ants that cause nuisance.
  • The ants that cause health-related issues.

 

Read also: What Do Ants Feed On? | Ant Diet

 

What are the Types of Ants in Alabama Based On the Species?

  • Ants in Alabama that Cause Structural Damage:
    • Carpenter Ants:
Ants In Alabama
Carpenter Ant Picture (Structural Damage)

You will often find these ants nesting in the wooden components of your structure, dead trees, fence walls, etc.

If you have carpenter ants infesting your property, then your structure is under threat, and you must act fast to prevent the integrity of your structure from failing.

The big black ants in Alabama, commonly referred to as the black carpenter ants, reach a length of about 0.5 inches and will cause more structural damage than the remaining 10 carpenter ant species in the state.

Carpenter ants, as their name implies, will often burrow into wood structures to create chambers that can house members of the ant colony.

These ants are often mistaken for termites due to their similar attraction to wood, but what distinguishes these 2 can be seen in the table below:

Termites

Carpenter Ants

Consume the wood that they infest. Burrow into the wood only to create chambers for the colony members, then do away with the wood shavings.
  • Ants in Alabama that Cause Nuisance:
Ants In Alabama
Pharaoh Ant Picture (Nuisance)
    • Tawny Crazy Ants:

Just like their name implies, this ant species in Alabama are indeed crazy ants and are known to attack in great numbers, even greater than the different ant species in the infested area.

These ants are small but due to their large populations, they tend to consume so much food that they tend to reduce the food sources in an area and hence reduce the population of other infesting ants within the area.

These ants cause great nuisance and disturbance in the areas that they infest, and if care is not taken and control measures are not applied, they are capable of rendering electrical equipment useless.

Unlike most ant species in Alabama, these ants do not sting but are able to emit chemical compounds that keep them safe from predator attacks.

Why are they called crazy ants? Well, this is because these ants move in a way that seems like they are insane or crazy. They move like they have no direction or purpose, hence the name crazy ants.

    • Pavement Ants:

From their names, you can tell that these ants inhabit the pavements of buildings. If your structure has a stone foundation, then you are likely to find these pests in the cracks of your pavement or cement.

You can identify these ants by their brown to black colorations; they usually have parallel lines covering their heads and thorax.

Pavement ants can become a nuisance to your garden flowers and plants if left unchecked. They will feed on the following:

  • Meat
  • Grease
  • Honeydew, etc.

Allowing these ants to thrive for long in your pavements can actually become a problem.

    • Odorous House Ants:

It is pretty obvious from the names that these ants bear that they have something to do with the smells that they emit.

These ant species are not identifiable by their appearance, but by the odor that they emit. These ants are small and have colors ranging from dark brown to black, but their rotten coconut smell often stands out in their identification.

One very amusing thing about the odorous house ant that distinguishes them from other ant species is that their nests are in constant weekly movements.

When they infest, these ants move their nests from one place to another in your structure, making getting rid of them a bit difficult.

In your home, you will often find their nests in wall voids in the kitchen and pastry; outdoors, you will find their nests under firewood, mulch, rocks, boards, etc.

These ants feed on sweets in kitchens and pastries, but generally feed on food sources that contain protein.

    • Pharaoh Ants:

Pharaoh ants are identified by their small sizes, black abdomens, and pale yellow to bright brown colored bodies.

What makes these ants difficult to control is their ability to bud when disturbed, that is, the fertile queens and a group of workers leave the established nest and move to a new nest site when disturbed to start a new colony.

Disturbing them will only lead to the spread of their infestation; hence, the need to hire a professional pest control expert is a necessity.

The problem with these ants is that they not only cause a nuisance to your home, but they also are responsible for spreading diseases, including:

  • Streptococcus: This is a type of bacteria that can cause skin, soft tissue, and respiratory tract infections.
  • Salmonella: This is an infection with Salmonella bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach pains.

Besides the home, you will often find this ant in restaurants and even hospitals, where they infest patient wounds and even transmit diseases in the process.

    • Dark Rover Ants:

Although these ants generally prefer to nest outdoors in mulch, they will often enter the house to search for food sources and other nesting spots indoors.

Indoors, they usually invade wall voids and will often construct large nests for their large colony, making their control very difficult for pest control experts.

These ants often feed on sweet foods as well as honeydew from other insects, which is their primary food source.

If you have them in your home, then you are certain of an end to your fire ant infestation due to the dominance they possess, but how do you now deal with them?

    • Argentine Ants:

Among all the nuisance ants in Alabama, the Argentine ants top the charts due to their large infestation numbers.

These ants cause great disturbances in the state of Mississippi and often infest as many habitats as possible. Their large numbers are due to the number of reproductive queens per colony as well as their ability to survive on diverse food sources.

You will often find these ants in unbelievable habitats, such as:

  • Bird nests
  • Dead trees
  • Debris pile
  • Rotten wood
  • Soil, etc

You will often find them in various many places and this makes controlling them a big problem.

  • Ants in Alabama that Cause Health-Related Issues:
Ants In Alabama
The Red Imported Fire Ant Picture (Health-Related)
    • Fire Ants in Alabama:

Now down to the famous fire ant we had earlier mentioned above. These ants are often reddish-brown in color and exhibit aggressive behaviors while also getting easily irritated. You can say they have anger issues… lol!

Most people have often wondered: are there fire ants in Alabama? Yes, there are. In fact, a sting from these ants is capable of triggering allergic reactions and sending you to the hospital.

The red imported fire ants in Alabama deliver painful stings that will often require a visit to the hospital to avoid further complications.

Besides their health-related complications, they will also cause damage to electrical equipment if allowed to thrive and nest.

    • Asian Needle Ants:

Most people identify needles as objects of pain, and if you are one of those people, then you are not mistaken in this case. These ants, named after this object of pain, deliver painful stings that may cause severe, long-lasting symptoms.

These ants were first discovered in 1932 and have since advanced in their population across the United States.

You will often find these pests in the following places, including:

  • Agricultural lands
    • Urban
    • Suburban
  • Hardwood forests
  • Around human habitats, you can find them in the following places:
    • Pavements
    • Mulch
    • Dead trees
    • Soil
    • Decaying logs
    • Leave piles
    • Brick pavers (made of clay or concrete and aggregate and dyed to look like brick), etc.

One behavior distinguishes them from other ant species. When they find food that is too big to carry alone, they will often alert other ants in the colony to come and assist in transporting the food to the nest. This behavior is often referred to as Tandem carrying.

Below is how the Tandem carrying behavior happens and what makes it weird:

  • The scout ant leaves the nest to forage for food.
  • The scout ant finds food that’s heavy or too large and quickly returns to the nest to recruit a worker ant.
  • The recruited worker ant folds its legs into its body and is carried by the scout ant to the food source.
  • They get to the food source, and the recruited ant divides the food into smaller pieces and takes it back to the nest.

Weird right?

You will often find the Asian needle ants foraging for food on the ground since they find it difficult to climb the walls or any vertical surface.

They often feed on the following:

  • Termites (an important part of their diet)
  • Meat
  • Rotting fruit

When these ants infest, they often establish large colony members that can displace other species of ants within the area.

 

Read also: How Long Do Ants Live? The Ant’s Lifespan

 

How Did Ants in Mississippi Enter My Home?

Ants entering your home should not startle you or come as a surprise, as these pests, due to their small sizes, are capable of sneaking into your home through various gaps, including:

  • Under doors
  • Cracks and crevices
  • Windows, etc

Their climbing abilities also allow them to access your house through shrubs, tree branches, and wires that are linked to it.

 

What are the Signs of Ants in Alabama?

  • Finding ant trails to and fro your house.
  • Finding ant nests (tiny mounds of dirt).
  • An ant swarm is a sign of ants on your property.
  • Finding live ants in your kitchen or storehouse is a sure sign.

 

Where Do the Ants of Mississippi Hide?

  • Behind baseboards
  • Wall voids
  • In or around electrical equipment
  • Underneath floors
  • Under kitchen sinks
  • Under bathroom sinks

 

How to Get Rid of Ants in Alabama

Getting rid of ants, especially some species in Alabama such as the Argentine ants, the Asian needle ants, etc., can be quite strenuous and somewhat impossible.

Some ants tend to distribute themselves (budding) when disturbed, and this makes getting rid of them quite difficult.

To properly eliminate ants in Alabama and have your house pest-free, we would encourage you to hire the services of well-licensed pest control experts.

With their help and services, their tools, insecticides, and years of experience and expertise, you can kiss an infestation goodbye for good without risking further spread.

 

How To Prevent Ants in Mississippi

  1. Purchase a door sweep from Amazon and install it to prevent the ants from sneaking underneath the door.
  2. Seal cracks and crevices.
  3. Trim tree branches and shrubs that may link these ants to the exterior walls of your house.
  4. Ensure that there is enough spacing between the soil and the foundation of your home by creating a barrier.
  5. Get rid of rotten wood and wood stacks in or outside your house.
  6. Purchase and install dehumidifiers in your basements.

 

Read also: Citronella Ants | Identification, Prevention & How to Get Rid

 

Conclusion

The ants in Alabama number about 170, of which 56 are commonly known and more important than the rest of the species of ants in the state.

These ants are basically divided into 3 basic species, meaning that they could cause you health-related issues (like the Asian needle ant), cause structural damage (like the carpenter ants), or even be a nuisance (like the Argentine ants).

Besides the economic damage these pests cause, they are actually fun to study.

What do you think of the ants in Alabama? Do you think there is more to them? Do share your ideas with us via the comments section so we can implement them for our lovely readers.

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