SIZE: One-quarter of an inch in length are the size of the Workers of this species. Two closely related types are smaller. The winged females and males that swarm to start new colonies may measure to 5-eighths of an inch and three-eighths of an inch, respectively.COLOR: Citronella ants and their family members tend to be golden yellow in coloring. The female that is winged are likewise golden-yellowish while the winged males are black. BEHAVIOR: The citronella ant is in fact called the “large yellow ant,” but it derives the nickname based on the strong citronella smells given off from its body. These ants tend to be subterranean in general. They feed on the honeydew produced by subterranean aphids and mealybugs, which feed upon the roots of trees and various plants. The workers are not observed foraging in homes and buildings; instead it will be the winged reproductives, called swarmers, that enter buildings during early- to mid-spring. These females and males enter the home from cracks in the foundation or through sub-slab heating ducts. The unexpected appearance of hundreds of these swarmers is often upsetting to home owners. The swarmers additionally have the strong, distinctive citronella odor.
Citronella ants put their colonies within the soil underneath things such as stones, logs and landscape timbers. They also could be found in the soil underneath mulch next to building foundations, or they may locate colonies in soil beneath slab floors and in crawl spaces.
Tips For Control
Colonies do not require control unless the swarmer’s are entering the home or building. Even then, treatment may not be possible because it is difficult to know exactly where the colony is located under the foundation. Sealing the cracks in the floor where the swarmers enter may stop the swarm from entering a home or building, but the ants may find other cracks. Any treatment will involve drilling and treating beneath the slab, thus requiring the services of an experienced professional.