Summary: Field ant identification can be tricky, but proper identification is necessary to achieve fast and effective control. When trying to identify field ant be sure to take everything into consideration. In this instance, the field ant mound description was the "give away".
A reader asks: I have found four carpenter ant mounds. Please tell me the safest way to get rid them.
Dear Reader: The ants you are describing are probably field ants. This ant closely resembles the carpenter ant in size, color and in many of their characteristics. The field ant, Formica subsericea, is often mistaken for a carpenter ant. In fact, many œcarpenter ant jobs have inadvertently been sold to homeowners by pest control firms that confuse these two look-alikes.
Both ant species have a one-segmented waist and a circular ring of hairs on the end of the abdomen. Here's the main key to proper identification. Carpenter ants have an evenly rounded thorax ” the body ***image1***segment just after the head, while the black field ant has a thorax that appears ridged or uneven in profile.
Field ants commonly form large, low-profile earthen mounds in the yard. Unlike carpenter ants, the black field ants do not establish nests inside buildings, although they may occasionally wander indoors in search of food.
Field ants are usually noticed during their swarming flights in the fall of the year. Large numbers of these yellowish-brown, winged ants emerge from underground colonies and crawl on the ground, trees, shrubs or buildings near their nesting site entrance before flying off to attempt to establish new colonies.
A bait like Combat Outdoor Ant Killing Granules, sprinkled around the mound can control the ant colony without affecting anything else. A non-pesticide mound drench like Kleen Kill can also be used.