Bigheaded Ants

Ant Control Services In DC, MD & VA

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bigheaded ants outside a home in Fairfax VA

 

Bigheaded Ants

Bigheaded ants can be found infesting homes throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. Their biology and habits can vary widely between the different species. Some species of bigheaded ants are actually intermediate hosts for tapeworms of wild and domesticated turkeys, and other birds. Colonies of some species of bigheaded ants can reach a tremendous size, with huge, extended nests and multiple queens. One super-colony covered an entire block. Owners of infested buildings typically complain about finding hundreds of both live and dead ants. Control is difficult because unless the entire super-colony is treated there is a high probability of re-infestation. Colonies of bigheaded ants have been observed to recover from just one queen and 10 pupae.

Most species of bigheaded ants nest in soil, and they're often found next to foundations where they may construct mud tubes, which can be mistaken for subterranean termites. Potted plants are another common nest site, which can result in colonies being taken indoors on accident. Infestations of bigheaded ants typically originate from outside or under a slab foundation.

Bigheaded ants feed on a wide variety of foods, but their natural diet consists of both live and dead insects, seeds, and honeydew. Certain species are predators of fire ant queens, and bigheaded ants have been successfully fed formulations of proteins, sugars, fats, and oils.

Bigheaded ant workers are dimorphic (there are two sizes of workers in each colony), and depending on the species, range in size from 1.5 to 4.5 mm. The body color may range from dark brown through shades of red, to light yellow. They have a two-segmented pedicel and a pair of spines on the propodeum. Their antennae have 12 segments, with a 3-segmented club. The major worker has an unusually large heart-shaped head. Bigheaded ants are easy to identify when the major workers can be collected, but the minor workers are more numerous and resemble the workers of fire ants.

 

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