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Where to find ants in my backyard

where find back yard backyard

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#1 Offline Derek451 - Posted June 26 2018 - 5:33 PM


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Hello all,

I know it’s a weird question but I really can’t find any nests in my yard.

I know there are at least 3 species that at least nest in the area or visit my backyard. I think they are pavement ants, small ants that look like Argentine ants (but they seem to be too small to be), and some camponotus or Formica species (they have black head and abdomen but red thorax).

I’ve looked all over the place. I see little holes in dry dirt that look like entrances to nests, but I don’t see ants coming out of them. Plus, they just don’t look moist enough for them. I’ve also looked in the trees, but I haven’t seen many ants going up the trees. I figured that if we have camponotus, they would be nested in the trees.

I tried giving them honey multiple times to see where their trails lead but every time they just don’t seem interested.

It’s overall pretty hard to find nests in my yard. We have no grass, just dry dirt covered with gravel-like peices of marbled rock. The dirt underneath is hard too, I’m not sure why I see so many ants here anyway.

Edited by Derek451, June 26 2018 - 5:36 PM.

#2 Offline Waganga - Posted June 26 2018 - 5:41 PM


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That is kind of an odd question. I think ant nests are usually pretty obvious to spot - of the 4 species I've found on my own property, I can easily locate the nests for 3 of them. The fourth, for me, is a Camponotus sp. that I assume lives in my maple tree... I assume.


I would assume the ants you are seeing might be from neighboring property. I know the Formica Argentea in my back yard have an obvious range of about 100ft. I say "obvious," as in there is a 100ft ant superhighway from my crappy back yard to my neighbor's nicely cared for front lawn, at which point they seem to disperse in a way that would be difficult to track without my neighbor asking a whole bunch of questions! So, it's possible that the ants you are seeing don't live at your house, perhaps the conditions are too poor... 


Maybe try leaving out honey/sugar water with food coloring in it multiple days in a row? Then, as you are looking around, you can see who is actually feeding from what you leave out. Maybe this will make them easier to track?

#3 Offline sgheaton - Posted June 27 2018 - 5:03 AM


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I've found most of my ants in my yard. Mainly Tetramorium and L. Flavus, but plenty of 'em.


Firstly is knowing when the season is. Chances are very slim you'll find a colony when they are dormant, ya? Tetramorium are every day right now in Colorado. 

Second is finding an established colony. Don't take the alates from this group as they aren't fertile yet. Just make note of their location.

Third is all about timing. I've found that when mornings are over 65 degrees by 6:30 in the morning, things are gonna be great. Humid, sticky, and hot in the mornings (after sprinkler systems have activated and the worlds waking up), go to the place that you've identified as an established colony with empty containers. Then it's just a matter of collecting the queens that don't have their wings, following those that fly off and getting them, watching the workers dragging the others out.. it's really interesting actually. 


I got really lucky by finding 3 pogonomrymex in my yard. Otherwise its been Tetramorium and L. Flavus galore. There's a Solenopsis Molesta colony as well but they keep migrating around. I'm fairly certain they are underneath my grill bricks though. 


You're not sure where the colonies are though. Have anything to "bait" with? Put out a couple pieces of some food and see what gathers on it and work back from there. 3 pieces of hard catfood, leftover chicken wing, small piece of bread. Give it a whirl and hope it's not a squirrel or bird that finds it first!

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#4 Offline Enderz - Posted June 27 2018 - 11:07 AM


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The small ants could be Monomorium minimum or ergatogyna, depending on where you live. They would be all black on close inspections and will have a petiole and postpetiole, and of course are smaller than argentine ants. I don't think I have found a true nest of this species, but I see these ants around a lot in my area.

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#5 Offline Canadian anter - Posted June 28 2018 - 12:28 AM

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Well I have a few Lasius colonies on my pavement as well as some Tetramorium which are fast becoming replaced by Tapinoma sessile. There are maybe 2 colonies of Formica and tens of Myrmica rubra colonies in the humid areas. Also present are Leptothorax, Ponera, Solenopsis and Brachymyrmex but they keep moving around and looking for them doesn't yield reliable results. I find the best way is to look under bricks, and near trees.

Edited by Canadian anter, June 28 2018 - 12:29 AM.

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#6 Offline Major - Posted July 21 2018 - 4:48 PM


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Hah. Trick question. I live in an apartment.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: where, find, back yard, backyard

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