Ant behavior: May 2011 Archives

Hi there,
I live NW of Stony Plain, Alberta in the country and I have these ants living in the roots of my shrub and bush. The plants weren't thriving after 3 years of trying to establish so, I dug them up only to find ant nests! I've never seen them above ground and when digging the plants out, they didn't bite at all. Could you please tell me what kind of ants these are and how to get rid of them? (Sorry about the picture quality)

Thank you so much, in advance!
Erika

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Dear Erika,

Thank you for contacting AntAsk at AntBlog. We are sorry to hear that your house plants have not been doing very well. Thanks for sending in the image of the ants you found in the roots.

To help answer your question about the ants you are finding, we asked an expert on several groups of subterranean ants Dr. John LaPolla. Here is what he had to say:

"They are Lasius (probably belonging to the old genus Acanthomyops) ants. These ants are known to enter into relationships with aphids and mealybugs on the roots of plants - so that is probably what is accounting for the decline in the plants - not the ants directly, but rather their cattle if you will. They are formicines ants (all of these ants have lost their sting and replaced it with an acid-spraying nozzle), so they cannot sting, but if you smell these ants they probably smell a bit like citronelle, sometimes the common name for this group of Lasius."

Thank you for contacting AntBlog,
John LaPolla, Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

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