The citronella ant is also called the yellow ant and the moisture ant depending on the area of the country. Logically it is called the yellow ant because of it’s yellowish color. It is called the citronella ant because of the citrus odor it emits when it is crushed.
Characteristics of the Citronella Ant
This ant is somewhat larger compared to other ants. Even thought it has a distinctive yellowish brown color it is also 1/8-3/16 inches long. This ant does not have a stinger. These ants has only one queen in the colony.
Common Environment of the Yellow Ant
These ants will nest in moist areas or rotted wood in structures. They may be found nesting in crawlspaces and damp areas of basement. Outside these ants will nest under stones, logs or maybe located inside rotten logs or stumps. These ants will nest next to foundations and under slabs pushing dirt piles out.
Yellow ants will feed on honeydew (sweet waste excretions) from subterranean aphids and mealybugs feeding on plant roots. The ants will protect and tend these insects like cattle. These ants are not know to forage and feed inside the home.
These ants can have a large number of winged reproductive (swarmers) numbering up into the ten of thousands. When these ant swarms in basements are many times mistaken for subterranean termite swarms.
Some interesting facts about Citronella/yellow ants
- These ants are large yellow and smell like citrus when crushed
- These ants are around foundations but do not feed inside the structure
- Sometimes these ant swarmers are mistaken for termites
Control Measures for Citronella/Yellow ants
Inspection and identification are important for proper control. Since this ant likes to nest in moisture areas in structures it is important to correct the moisture concerns and eliminate nesting areas. Outside nests can be directly treated with a control material.