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Beneficial Ants

Believe it or not, there is a beneficial ant that is found in many landscapes. If you see an interesting mound shaped like a small volcano, you likely have the pyramid ants. These ants form small nests in sandy soils and the mound will have a small opening in the very center.

Pyramid ant mound. Photo by Beth Bolles

Pyramid ant mound, about 5 inches across. Photo by Beth Bolles

Pyramid ants are not aggressive and do not sting. They are fast moving over the ground building the mound and searching for food. Ants will collect honeydew from other insects and the beneficial part is that ants hunt live insects including winged fire ants. By allowing the pyramid ants to remain in parts of your landscape, you may reduce the numbers of fire ants that can establish in that area.

When you see the distinctive pyramid ant mounds, remember the beneficial role they play in keeping pest species in check. Keep any baits away from these areas to protect the pyramid ants.

A group of small mounds. Photo by Beth Bolles

A group of small mounds. Photo by Beth Bolles

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Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/05/06/beneficial-ants/