Dos & Don’ts: Myrmecology


May 15, 2014

  • Do the applied myrmecology and don’t let black carpenter ants, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, damage structures. Eliminate ants through integrated pest management (IPM), which is environmentally benign.
  • Do understand that in temperate regions, intrusive worker ants foraging from outdoor formicaries (nests) begins when soil temperatures are warmer than 50°F.
  • Don’t ignore seasonal aphid emergence. Ant foraging will be centered outdoors.
  • Do inspect for structural moisture intrusion points. An infrared camera can provide superior diagnostics.
  • Don’t underestimate the logic that locating structural and exterior formicaries is the most effective method of ant control and elimination.
  • Do use a stethoscope for structural formicaries via an audible location of worker ant stridulating and masticating.
  • Don’t assume the diurnal foraging of worker ants is valid for a formicary location. Primary foraging is nocturnal and cryptic (+/-10 percent of a colonies’ workers are deployed for foraging).
  • Do apply the correct formulations — bait,
  • liquid, dust, granular, etc. — using labeled
  • treatment techniques.
  • Don’t initially consider infestation when spring foraging ants are present in kitchens and bathrooms because they might be from outdoor formicaries.
  • Do realize the IPM process can be defined as: inspection and investigation, identification, establishing threshold levels, implementing two or more control measures (cultural, physical, mechanical and professional product applications), and effective evaluation.

[ RELATED LINK: Most Wanted: Myrmecology ]

Dr. Mitchell, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., B.C.E., a board-certified physician and entomologist, is principal technical specialist for PestWest Environmental, as well as PMP’s Technical Editor. He can be reached at or 515-333-8923.

About the Author

MITCHELL, D.O., DVM, PsyD, BCE, is technical director of PestWest, and a frequent contributor to PMP.

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