Several ant pest species infest households in Maine frequently during the spring, summer and fall season. The most common ant pests in the state include European fire ants, carpenter ants, cornfield ants, pavement ants, Allegheny mound ants, and larger yellow ants. Thief ants, Pharaoh ants, odorous house ants and little black ants are also known for infesting homes in southern Maine on occasion. Now that the fall season has officially arrived, many residents of Maine will encounter swarms of larger yellow ants, and a minority of residents may even encounter these swarms within their home.

Larger yellow ants are also commonly known citronella ants due to the lemony citronella odor they give off when they are crushed. These ants are common in Maine and they can be recognized for their yellowish to reddish brown bodies which measure around 3/16 of an inch in length. Larger yellow ants are often mistaken for pavement ants do to the similar size and color of the two species. Many ant pest species in Maine may establish one or multiple nests within a home, but larger yellow ants nest solely outdoors, often against a home’s foundation or beneath a concrete slab.

Since these ants establish nests in close proximity to homes, they can become a serious nuisance to homeowners come fall when reproductive swarmers (alates) emerge from their nests. It is not uncommon for thousands of swarming alates to emerge within homes during the fall, especially when larger yellow ants establish a nest within or beneath a home’s foundation. In fact, swarming alates can even emerge in Maine homes during the winter season, provided that a colony is located under a heated slab or foundation. Larger yellow ants have also been known to establish nests within rotting wood and beneath patios, but they do not typically cause damage to homes. In some cases, taking a vacuum to these ants will eliminate them from homes, but when multiple nests are located on a property, professional pest control professionals are often necessary to end nuisance swarms.

Have you ever encountered a swarm of ants in a residential area?