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There are about seventy species of ants in Alberta. The most common groups are field ants and carpenter ants. Both can be thought of as either a beneficial insect or a pest depending upon their location.
In lawns their mounds are typically only two to three inches high and composed of small soil grains removed from the excavated galleries below.
Ants are opportunistic feeders - sometimes predaceous but usually scavengers and/or aphid farmers. When the population at any one nest becomes excessive, queen ants will be produced to start other nests. Ants from non-related nests will fight to protect local territory, often raiding nests to bring back pupae to their nests.
Control of field ants is often difficult as the removal of one nest seems to allow other colonies nearby to expand into this new territory. A few techniques can be used to control ants in these locations:
Things to remember about controlling field ants in your yard:
The Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) is common in Canada east of the Rockies. These ants speed the decomposition of deadwood in the forest, which benefits the ecosystem by recycling organic materials. However, they become a pest when they start nests in and around our homes and buildings.
Carpenter ants can pose a serious threat to a building's structural integrity and should be dealt with promptly when found inside buildings.
While these ants live inside of wood, their food sources are the same as most other ants: honeydew from aphids, live and dead insects, food residues and plant saps from weeping wounds.
Control of carpenter ants is usually easy once the nest has been found. Control should include these three steps:
Things to remember about controlling carpenter ants in your yard:
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