Have you ever seen a citronella ant? If you have, how much do you know about them? What can you say about their habitat, behavior, and diet? Well, even if you do know about them, a little more information never killed anyone. Besides, you’ll be able to spot and get read of a citronella ant infestation when you see one.

Citronella ants have a distinctively smell and look like lemons. The ant has a coloring of reddish brown with shades of yellow. It is sometimes called the large yellow ant. It is large with a length of 5mm in workers and 8mm for the queen. Its antenna is segmented into twelve parts, and the first long segment is shorter than the head of the ant. They have an internal defense mechanism that releases a lemon scented odor when they feel threatened. When crushed it gives the feeling of a newly cleaned wood floor.

Citronella ants make their nest in the soil. When outdoors, they make their nest under logs, timbers, and landscape. They sometimes nest inside crawl spaces and foundations. They make a mound of soil while their galleries are dug underground. They sometimes make nests under porches and slabs. They push the soil through the crack in a slab and build their nest underneath. Homeowners often mistake this soil as termite destruction.

When inside the home, citronella ants find an area with high moisture to nest. The nest can be made of woods that are affected or already damaged by termites or fungus. If your home is invaded by citronella ants, it only means there is wood moisture problem and fixing it should be your top priority. They feed on the honeydew that is gotten from insects that survive on plant roots.


The queen makes new workers, and occasionally winged males and females know as a swarmer. The colonies swarmers are the winged ants commonly seen in New Jersey homes because they leave their nest to search for other colonies and reproduce. The male dies after mating and the mated female becomes the queen of the new colony. Worker citronella ants are normally smaller in size than the other two groups, and they remain in the colony. This is why most homeowners usually see them.

Citronella ants usually go around homes throughout the year. However, they can be found mostly in late autumn, early spring, and even mid-late summer. Swarms develop due to the warmer soils found under the heated surfaces. Citronella ants are normally seen in spring or after a heavy rainfall or disturbances like gardening, landscaping, and construction close to their nest.

Signs of Citronella Ant infestation

When swarms of winged citronella ants and foraging workers are noticed, then you should suspect an infestation. Another sign to take note of is the mounds of soils made due to the creation of their nests.

What do Homeowners in ­New Jersey Need to Know About Citronella Ants?

This particular ant is not an issue for homeowners in New Jersey. However, when citronella ants swarm in the spring, then that can be a serious pest nuisance outside and inside the home. Although they will not reproduce or damage anything found inside your home, they come through cracks in windows or doorways, and you will often mistake them for termites. They can also make colonies underneath crawl spaces under slabs or in the home. If this is what is happening, you are advised to get help from a professional pest control service provider.

Well, the good news is, the citronella ants prefer staying outdoors to staying in your home. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t find their way in by accident or intentionally. If you notice a swarm repeatedly occurring close to your home, you should try to locate the colony.

Citronella Ant Control

While inside your home, using baits can be an efficient way of managing citronella ants that have found a way inside the home. Chances are, the ant will not only eat the bait, but it will take it back to the colony and destroy more than half of the colony. Baits can also be used as a means to locate the nest if the homeowner doesn’t know the location. Professionals normally set the baits at appropriate locations and use a variety of products to achieve their goal. Maxforce and Advance are among the commonly used dust and liquid pesticide for citronella ants that have found their way inside the home.

When a swarm is found inside or outside the home, vacuuming the insect is the quickest and safest method to eliminate it. The next step is identifying the insect to make sure they are not termites. You can crush one of the ants and find out if there is any lemon scent.

It is vital for business or homeowners to contact professionals in pest control if they have citronella ant’s infestation. Once the professionals locate the nest, they have a different array of pesticides and techniques they can use on the nest. When applying pesticide, the concentration should be on the nest. An infestation can become worse if not handled properly as the ants might form a satellite nest, i.e. budding of the nest.

To make sure that every internal infestation is removed, finding, and repairing the moister problem and leaks that attract the citronella ants should be your first step. Exclusionary methods include storing firewood at a distance from the home and sealing of tiny crack with caulk are advised.

Citronella Ant Prevention Tips

• Ensure that gutters are functioning properly, directing the water away from your home and the foundation

• Replace or repair leaky pipes, outdoor. Fix all indoor fixtures and faucets that have gone bad

• Replace and or remove every damaged wood especially wood damaged by water

• Compost piles, outdoor trash, wood piles are to be kept far from away from the home

• Seal cracks in the exterior wall or house foundations; it is advised to install door sweeps for all exterior doors.

If you still see these ants after taking the above precautionary measures, call Alliance Pest Services today.