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Most people understand the basics about ants. They live in anthills, they're highly socialized, and they steal your food. Also, they have been known to ruin a picnic. However, this information just scratches the surface of the fascinating world of ants.
Grzegorz Buczkowski, a Purdue University research assistant professor of entomology, has discovered that odorous house ants, the main species that you'll see in your home in St. Louis, have colonies that grow larger and more complex in cities than they do in forests, which is their native habitat. In a forest, they live in colonies of around 50 with one queen, but they become enormous "supercolonies" in urban areas, with over 6 million workers and up to 50,000 queens.
"This is a native species that's doing this," said Buczkowski in the journal Biological Invasions. "Native ants are not supposed to become invasive. We don't know of any other native ants that are outcompeting other species of native ants like these."
Odorous house ants tend to live in hollow acorn shells when they are found in forests. The name odorous comes from the coconut or rum-like smell that emenates from them when they are crushed.
In locations that are a combination of urban and natural, ie a park, Buczkowski said he observed colonies of about 500 workers with a single queen. He believes that it's conceivable that as the ants move closer to urban areas, they will have easier access to food, shelter and other resources. "In the forest, they have to compete for food and nesting sites," Buczkowski said. "In the cities, they don't have that competition. People give them a place to nest, a place to eat."
Buczkowski said understanding why the supercolonies form could lead to better control of the pests in homes, as well as ensuring that they don't outcompete beneficial species.
Future studies on odorous house ants will include studying the ant's genetics and trying to understand the effects of urbanization of odorous house ants.
For more information on how to rid your home of odorous house ants, carpenter ants, and other pests in St. Louis, MO, visit www.richardsonpestsolutions.com today, and call (314) 297-2210 or 636-387-2400 to schedule a free inspection and estimate!
Unwanted guests are always nuisances. Unwanted pests are downright bothersome. If you have animals invading your attic or critters crawling where they shouldn’t be, contact Richardson Pest Solutions. We are members of the National Pest Management Association, and have been a family-owned and family-operated business since 1972. Please contact us today for free inspections and estimates. We’re available Monday through Saturday and we’re ready to serve you. Certified Applicator License #10018