False Honey Ant or Small Honey Ant
by Ralph H Maestre BCE
picture by Alex Wild
The False Honey Ant, Prenolepis impairs, has a range that covers most of the US. Around here they are found around residential neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau Counties. These ants, sometimes called "cold weather ants or winter ants," normally nest outdoors in the soil, but occasionally can be found in kitchens feeding on "sweets". Its nest's entrance can be hard to find. The entrance is about the size of a pinhead, so winter ant nests aren't a lot to look at on the outside. Once inside it consists of a deep maze of tunnels, which extend as far as twelve feet deep. The advantage of this is that the average temperature within the nest is constant, while the temperature on the surface may be freezing. While other ants "sleep" for the winter, these ant forage. They are the first ants we see in homes in the new year. They start coming out in February and stop foraging by the end of March. When they forage, they follow along scent (pheromone) trails on counter tops with 12 or more ants in line. Workers vary from light to dark brown (almost black) in color, are very shiny, have a triangular abdomen, and are about 1/8-inch long. They are able to store food supplies for the summer months in their abdomen. This keeps their food supply from spoiling and there are able to share it with other members of their family. Winter ants are masters at avoiding trouble because they are active when other ants are inactive. From March to November, when most ant species scramble around gathering food and fighting one another, winter ants seal themselves tightly in their nests.
Magic's Ant Management Program
Magic's Ant Management Program is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach that always begins with an inspection and an interview with the client. Once the inspection is completed the technician will develop a plan of action. Since these ants love sugary substances, baiting is the first of several treatments to be employed. Using the various baits available, allows the ants to bring the baits back to the colony which is the first step at eliminating the infestation. Magic Pest Management uses a buffet style of baiting; this means we don't rely on only one bait material. Using only one bait may fail and therefore numerous call-backs will occur. Magic Pest Management may use a liquid application, such as Phantom®, in conjunction with a baiting program. The use of Phantom® both outside and inside according to label instructions, around the structure, provides a non-repellent product the ants don't know is there and therefore exposes the ants to a lethal dose. There are other products used, such as dusts and foams, that provide long residuals in hard to reach areas such as wall voids.