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Pavement Ant

Pavement Ants is one of the most commonly seen ants in South Africa, being well adapted to urban and suburban habitats. It is distinguished by one pair of spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, and grooves on the head and thorax.

During the late spring and early summer colonies attempt to conquer new areas and often attack nearby enemy colonies. This results in huge sidewalk battles, sometimes leaving thousands of ants dead. In summer, the ants dig out the sand between the pavements to vent their nests.

The pavement ant is dark brown to blackish, and 2.5–4 mm long. A colony is composed of workers, alates, and a queen. Workers do have a small stinger, which can cause mild discomfort in humans but is essentially harmless. Alates, or new queen ants and drones, have wings, and are at least twice as large as the workers

Argentine Ant

The worker ants are 1.6–2.8 millimetres (0.06–0.11 in) long and can easily squeeze through cracks and holes as small as 1 millimetre (0.04 in) in size. Queens are 4.2–6.4 millimetres (0.17–0.25 in) long, much smaller than other species of ants. These ants will set up quarters in the ground, in cracks in concrete walls, in spaces between boards and timbers, even among belongings in human dwellings. In natural areas, they generally nest shallowly in loose leaf litter or beneath small stones, due to their poor ability to dig deeper nests. However, if a deeper nesting ant species abandons their nest, Argentine ant colonies will readily take over the space.

They have been extraordinarily successful, in part, because different nests of the introduced Argentine ants seldom attack or compete with each other, unlike most other species of ant. In their introduced range, their genetic makeup is so uniform that individuals from one nest can mingle in a neighbouring nest without being attacked. Thus, in most of their introduced range, they form supercolonies. “Some ants have an extraordinary social organization, called unicoloniality, whereby individuals mix freely among physically separated nests.

Pharaoh Ant

The pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) is a small (2 mm) yellow or light brown, almost transparent ant notorious for being a major indoor nuisance pest, especially in hospitals. The pharaoh ant, whose origins are unknown, has now been introduced to virtually every area of the world, including Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Southeast Asia. It is a major pest in the United States, Australia, and Europe.

This species is polygynous, meaning each colony contains many queens, leading to unique caste interactions and colony dynamics. This also allows the colony to fragment into bud colonies quickly. Pharaoh ants are a tropical species, but they also thrive in buildings almost anywhere, even in temperate regions provided central heating is present. Each colony produces sexually reproductive individuals roughly twice a year.

However, colonies raised in a laboratory can be manipulated to produce sexuals at any time of year. Colonies proliferate by “budding” (also called “satelliting” or “fractionating”), where a subset of the colony including queens, workers and brood (eggs, larvae and pupae) leave the main colony for an alternative nest site.
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