Red ants with wings. Are they termites?

Red ants with wings are actually a common pest to find in Connecticut.  In fact, we get calls fairly regularly for them during certain times of the year.  More often than not there are two concerns.  Are they termites and can you get rid of them?  The answer will surprise you.

The pest control industry is a relatively large industry with small and large players.  The identification and control of citronella ants needs a trained eye to get it done right.

Are they termites?

Let’s start with the answer that everyone wants to know.  No, they’re not termites.  This ant doesn’t eat wood and won’t infest your house beyond what you’re seeing now.  Then what are they?

This ant gets its name from the smell that they emit when they’re crushed or threatened.  They live in the soil much like termites in CT, but that’s where the similarity ends.  Their main food source like many ants is going to be the honeydew excreted by aphids.

Why do red ants with wings swarm?

Red ants with wings
Swarmming citronella ants on a Newtown, CT deck

Much like all ants and the subterranean termites the reproductives emerge in large numbers in mid to late summer.  This timeline varies though as swarms have happened when their are warmer soil temperatures.

Will citronella ants enter my home?

Although not much is known about the subterranean colonies of citronella ants in 27 years I’ve never had to do an interior treatment (or exterior for that matter) for them.

What can be done to control these ants?

In some cases the swarms of this pest can be large and occur over and over.  The locations where this is likely to happen will be around slab expansions joints, door frames in the basement and cracks in slabs.  Although treatment is not normally required in some cases it may be needed.

In the event treatment does become necessary holes can be drilled in the slabs where the pest is and inject a material that will effectively end the swarm.  Again this is rarely if ever needed.

If you have a pest problem and need help call Envirocare Pest Control at 1-888-879-6481.