Pyramid ants earned their name because of a pyramid-shaped structure on their backs. These insects are common throughout the United States and are quite a pain when you have them. This may lead you to wonder how to prevent them, but first, you should understand how to recognize them. It's also important to know the answer to, "Are pyramid ants dangerous?"
Pyramid ants have a pyramid-like structure on their thorax -- the portion of their body that's in between the abdomen and neck. While people throughout the US are faced with these pests, they're most common in the southern areas of the country.
One colony may contain a single queen or multiple ones. The entire colony may consist of thousands of individual ants. If you step on their nest, they give off a repulsive coconut scent.
These ants prefer the honeydew produced by aphids and other insects. They classify as carnivores, but they'll invade your home in search of sweets.
You may ask, "Are pyramid ants dangerous?" Typically, pyramid ants are harmless to humans. They usually won't bite or become defensive. They will bite, though, if you disturb their home.
Since pyramid ants prey on fire ants and various other pests, many consider them to be beneficial insects. However, if you have an infestation of them, it could signal you have a colony of other insects they prey on nearby.
Before you learn how to get rid of pyramid ants, you should first be able to identify them. That way, you know you're targeting the right ant species with your efforts.
The elevated part on their thorax is the most identifiable characteristic of these pests. You should also know that their head and thorax are reddish black or brown. Their abdomens tend to be darker. All pyramid ants have antennae and grow to be about 1.5 to three millimeters in length.
Besides knowing what they look like, it can also help you to know how to get rid of pyramid ants if you know where to find them. As a general rule, they build their nests outside. They create ant mounds, usually in a sunny area free of vegetation. They prefer sandy soil to make their homes. You may identify a pyramid ant nest if you notice a small hill with one entrance. When you look at their nest, you may think it looks like a small, shallow volcano.
Now that you know the answer to "Are pyramid ants dangerous," you might wonder why you would need to exterminate them. Well, this is a personal preference if you want them away from your home. You may also want them to vacate the premises if they start to invade your home.
You could use a saltwater spray. For this, you mix salt with water and place it in a spray bottle. When you see a large group of them, you shoot them with the mixture. Salt works because it's a desiccant. This means that it'll dry out the pests' exoskeletons so they can't survive.
On the other hand, you may want to try a baking soda and sugar combination. The sugar will attract the ants. But, when they eat it, their bodies won't be able to process the baking soda. As a result, it'll cause gas to form inside of them, and they'll eventually die. There are also products you can purchase in stores.
If you have an issue with other bugs, such as the ones they prefer to eat, try targeting them. Then, the ants will have no reason to stick around.
Essentially, you want to keep them away from getting inside your home. One way to accomplish this is by sealing up all cracks and crevices where they could enter your home. Additionally, it helps to keep all your sweet foods, including snacks, cake mixes, and even sugar, in airtight containers.
In addition, make sure you keep your kitchen and other parts of your house, free from any left-out sweet food. If they have no reason to invade your home, they'll stay away.
Keeping pyramid ants at bay can be done by sealing up your home. Some people have luck with at-home remedies when they have an infestation; however, an infestation might require a pest control company to assist.