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Citronella Ants: The Ultimate Guide

Citronella ants, also known as stink ants, are a type of ant that belongs to the genus Camponotus. They are large, aggressive ants that are found in the southeastern United States. In this guide, we will delve into the world of citronella ants, including their physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, and more.

Physical Characteristics

Citronella ants are large, with a body length of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. They have a slender, segmented body and six legs. They are typically dark brown or black in color and are often covered in small, hairy spines. Citronella ants are easily distinguished from other types of ants by their strong citronella-like scent, which they release when they feel threatened.


Citronella ants are active during the day and are most often seen in gardens, parks, and other outdoor areas. They are known for their aggressive behavior and will attack humans or animals if they feel threatened.

Citronella ants are social insects and live in large colonies, which are usually headed by a queen ant. The queen ant is responsible for laying eggs and producing offspring, while the worker ants are responsible for foraging for food, caring for the young, and maintaining the nest.

Citronella ants have a complex social structure and communicate with each other using a series of dances and pheromones. They work together to defend the nest and protect the colony from predators.


Citronella ants are found in the southeastern United States and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and gardens. They prefer to live in warm, humid environments and are often found near sources of water.

In the wild, citronella ants can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and gardens. They are also known to hide in homes and other buildings, where they can build nests in walls, floors, and ceilings.


Citronella ants, also known as stink ants, are large, aggressive ants that are found in the southeastern United States. They are known for their strong citronella-like scent and their aggressive behavior. Although they can be intimidating to some people, citronella ants are generally not aggressive and will only attack if they feel threatened. If you spot a citronella ant in your home or elsewhere, it is important to use caution and avoid disturbing it. If you have a citronella ant infestation in your home, it is important to contact a pest control professional to help eliminate the problem.

Citronella Ants (Larger Yellow Ants)

The Larger Yellow ants are common in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, as well as the rest of the eastern and central United States. The Larger Yellow ant is commonly known as the perfumed yellow or citronella ant.

Citronella ants become a nuisance when their alates swarm indoors, or the workers push out soil from cracks in the floor or basement walls. Overwintering alates emerge from cracks and crevices in the walls and floors or from the basement and foundation. Homeowners often mistake them for termites. Other alates that are produced in the spring brood may have mating flights later in the summer. The winged forms are discharged from the colony in mid or late summer, and, after mating, the queens seek places to spend the first winter. New colonies are started the following spring. These newly mated queens sometimes take shelter in houses. Since the colonies of the citronella ant and its near relatives are not uncommon in gardens, the winged forms are occasionally found in buildings or on their walls. Citronella ants nest in the soil, along foundations. Colonies of citronella ants also nest under rocks, trash cans, landscape timbers, and other items lying on the ground. The workers feed almost exclusively on honeydew collected from subterranean homopterans such as root aphids. They do not generally feed on household foods.

Citronella ant workers are monomorphic, and about 4 to 4.5 mm in length. They have reddish-yellow to reddish-brown bodies, a one-segmented pedicel, and a petiolar node that is thick and blunt at the top. They have disproportionately small compound eyes, and the workers emit a distinct lemon-like odor when alarmed or crushed.

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