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Citronella Ants in Virginia

Yellow Ants (Citronella)

Common Features

Citronella Ants In Central, VA

Yellow ants are also called Citronella ants and are members of the Formicidae family in the order Hymenoptera. They are small ants found throughout the state of Virginia and when disturbed, they release a lemon-like smell. The worker ants have a shiny citrus-like color while the queen is larger and noticeably darker. Most of the time, the ant colonies go unnoticed because they are nocturnal and rarely enter houses unless they are swarming. When they swarm people often mistake them for flying termites.

Larger Yellow Ant Life Cycle and Activity

As previously mentioned, Larger Yellow Ants (Citronella Ants), are largely nocturnal and rarely enter houses. There isn’t any information they feed on household foods, only honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. The ants have a social structure like other ant species including a queen, winged reproductive ants, and workers. In the spring and fall, the male and female reproductive ants (swarmers), leave the colony and start a new one. The smaller yellow ant is a parasite of larger yellow ants, and a mated Citronella Queen often sneaks into the nest of a smaller yellow ant colony, kills the queen, and takes over the colony.

Damage & Dangers

Yellow Ants are not dangerous to you or your house. They don’t have a stinger and do not bite. However, it can be a nuisance when they swarm in the spring and summer months, due to the huge number of them. Homeowners often mistake the ants for termites if they swarm indoors, and it usually does not indicate a larger problem, even if they are nesting near your house. If their numbers get out of hand, contact a local pest control company as yellow ants don’t respond well to traditional baits.

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