Ants are generally considered to be good for the environment. They help deter other insect species, they speed up the decomposition of dead animals, and their intricate nests aerate the soil. Scientists have identified more than 12,000 species of ants around the world. However, when ants invade your home, they can become a nuisance.
The white-footed ant has become an important pest ant in certain parts of the United States, particularly in Florida, but also in Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. White-footed ants feed on honeydew, which is a sticky, sweet substance that mealybugs, scales, and aphids produce. They will also eat plant nectar, proteins, and dead insects. Unlike many ant species, the foraging white-footed ant does not share its food with the colony. Instead, many of the sterile workers lay unfertilized trophic eggs, which larvae and nonforaging ants use as a food source.
White-footed ant colonies release winged female and male ants from the nest at a certain time of year. They will mate during a nuptial flight and then establish a new colony. The male will die after mating, and the female will die around 400 days later, after founding the colony. Orlando Pest Control can help in getting rid of White Footed Ants.
This article gives you a detailed account of the life of the White Footed Ants, which can aid you with their eradication.
If you have specific questions about White Footed Ants, check out our FAQ section.
Did you know?
A mature white-footed ant colony can have from 8,000 to 3 million ants, with up to 33% of them reproducing.
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Is It a White Footed Ant? – Identifying a White Footed Ant
This small (about 1/8 inch or 3 mm long) ant is easily confused with Crazy ants and Odorous House Ants if not properly identified. Although the body of the white-footed ant closely resembles that of the crazy ant, its legs and first segment of its antennae are much shorter. This ant’s body color is darker than that of the odorous house ant. The white-footed ant (which has one node) has one distinguishing characteristic which sets apart from similar ants: the tarsi (section at the end of the legs) are a very light yellow or yellowish-white in color. This gives it the appearance of having “white feet,” hence its name.
Where White Footed Ants Live? — Habitat of White Footed Ants
White-footed ant nests have been observed in many locations in the landscape, and in the home. In Japan, favored nest sites are within old trees. In Florida, trees also serve as an ideal nesting location. White-footed ants can be found under loose bark, within natural or artificially created cavities in the stem, in rotten trunks or limbs, and in galleries created at one time by termites. In addition, white-footed ants have been observed nesting in attics, under roof shingles, in wall voids, in cardboard boxes, in the petiole bases of palms, under leaf litter, in compost piles, under rocks, along fence lines, and in outdoor furniture. Many other damp locations may serve as suitable nest sites for this species.
Although a colony may be made up of a million individuals, they usually do not all nest in one location. Colonies tend to be spread out as interconnected satellite colonies. Therefore, ants within the same colony may be found nesting at several locations around a structure. Nesting sites usually contain eggs, the developing offspring, and pupae as well as adult ants.
How Do White Footed Ants behave? — The Lifestyle of White Footed Ants
These social ants are known to create incredibly large colonies that have a range of queens. Their reproduction potential is phenomenal due to the multiple fertile members of the colony. Some colony sizes are estimated at tens, even hundreds of thousands.
The White-Footed Ant is not a biting insect and primarily exists on sugary foods, particularly honeydew and occasionally proteins. Workers from this trailing species are very prevalent when foraging, as they can exist in large numbers.
Life Cycle of White Footed Ants
Like many other ants, white-footed ant colonies produce winged males and females which, at certain times of the year, leave their nest to start new colonies. This is called “swarming.” Winged females who mate with winged males during a mating flight found new colonies. Winged males mate once before they die. Winged females die about 400 days after starting a colony. The queen is then replaced by a wingless daughter that mates with a wingless male who is capable of multiple matings.
In addition, white-footed ants can initiate new colonies by budding. Budding is a process where many workers and wingless reproductive males and females leave the mother nest and crawl some distance to start a new colony. The wingless reproductives look very much like workers, and in many cases cannot be distinguished from sterile workers by external appearance. These worker look-alikes, called intercastes, make up almost 50% of a colony. Thus, mass movements of white-footed ants carrying their whitish-colored larvae and pupae may be observed during the budding process.
How to Tell if I have White Footed Ants? — White Footed Ants Infestation
With millions of members in a white-footed ant colony, food is a priority. Preferring sweet foods, white-footed ants can be found foraging on bushes and ornamental plants that contain nectars and are frequented by aphids, mealybugs, scale, and other sap-sucking insects. Foragers lay down a trail of pheromones that lead to food sources. As nestmates move back and forth from food sources to their nests, they can be spotted trailing in lines, along external walls that lead to a small crack or crevice in your home’s foundation or walls. Often, trailing inside walls, following electrical cables, white-footed ants find their way into rooms where liquids and solid food sources can result in heavy trailing activity, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.
Are White Footed Ants dangerous? — Threats of White Footed Ants Infestation
White-footed ants are mostly an issue because of the large size of their colonies and the pests’ persistence, which makes them very hard to control or eliminate. They don’t cause structural damage, bite, or sting. However, because each colony of white-footed ants contains up to 3 million individuals, unsightly trailing lines of the insects often appear along with countertops, walls, and baseboards in infested homes. They are also likely to infest foods and cause the homeowner to throw out foods that are contaminated.
How to Get Rid of White Footed Ants? — Eradication of White Footed Ants
The problem seems to be that white-footed ant populations can number 3 million members and that is a lot of ants foraging around in your kitchen, surprising you in your bathroom and just basically irritating homeowners by foraging up exterior walls and into your home in search of sweet things to eat. These are the reasons that professional help from Orlando Pest Control is recommended when dealing with White Footed Ants. All American Pest Control gives the best Pest Control packages in Orlando! You can reach them at (321) 559-7378.
How long do White Footed Ants live?
The average lifespan of an adult White Footed Ant is between 1-3 weeks.
What do White Footed Ants eat?
White Footed Ants are scavengers and mostly feed on sweet foods.
Do White Footed Ants Bite?
White Footed Ants are incapable of biting humans.
How do White Footed Ants get to my house?
White Footed Ants can enter your house through open doors or can be transported in a container that was outside.
Are White Footed Ants dangerous?
White Footed Ants are mostly harmless to humans as they do not transmit any diseases.
How can I get rid of White Footed Ants?
White Footed Ants can congregate in large numbers and can cause nuisance! It’s best to call an exterminator. Tampa Pest Control can help you get rid of White Footed Ants!