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Leafcutter Ant

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Description

Leafcutter Ant

Pest Stats

Color

Rust brown to dull dark brown; legs and abdomen usually paler

Legs

6

Shape

Thorax with three pairs of spines; very long legs

Size

1/16”-1/2” (1.5-12mm)

Antennae

Yes

Region

Texas, Louisiana, parts of southern Arizona and California, and northeastern New Mexico

Habits

Leaf-cutter ants usually remain in their nest during the hottest time of the day and during the summer months, they will forage at night. They can seal the entrances in order to preserve the moisture content of the soil. Leaf-cutter ants can tolerate temperatures ranging from 45-90 degrees F. They eat plant parts, caterpillar droppings, corn, cornmeal, flour, rice, peas, wheat, oats, chops, bread, cake, chicken feed, sugar, beans and ground coffee. Leaf-cutter ants will travel a distance up to 600ft to father leaves and forage for food.

Habitat

Leafcutting ants build their nests in soil or well-drained sand. Mounds are formed and the nest can be up to 11 ft deep. They are primarily outdoor ants that prefer warm, agricultural areas. However, they are increasingly found nesting in urban neighborhoods. Leaf-cutter ants never nest indoors, but will enter structures while foraging, but leave quickly.

Threats

Leafcutting ants are of concern to agricultural farmers because of their ability to defoliate crops and damge farmlands with their nests. They have the ability to defoliate and entire citrus tree overnight. Leafcutting ants are also a concern of homeowners in urban settings because they can cause big problems for gardens due to ability to damage and remove leaves from trees and flowers. Leaf-cutter ants not only cause physical damage to foliation, but they can also bite if their nest is threatened or somone interferes with their leaf gathering business. Symptoms of a bite can include redness, swelling, itching, visible blood, or allergic reactions.

Leafcutter Ant Prevention

If you suspect a leaf-cutter ant infestation, call A-1 Bonded Termite, Inc. for a free inspection* immediately. This is the safest and most effective way to get rid of leaf-cutter ants. Your inspector will make recommendations to eliminate the infestation and make suggestions on how to correct conditions that may be conducive to re-infestations.

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