Bug of the Month May 2018: Citronella Ants

Subject:  What bugs are these
Geographic location of the bug:  Bellevue ohio
Date: 04/30/2018
Time: 04:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was cleaning out a small section of dirt near my house spring time and lifted a rock and noticed these bugs. I’m not sure what they are and would appreciate the help identifying them.
How you want your letter signed:  Zack

Citronella Ants

Dear Zack,
We began our research on the Ohioline page Ants In and Around the Home and we found a reference to Larger Yellow Ants and no scientific name with the following information: “These ants are often mistaken for winged termites since the winged adults swarm through cracks in basement walls or floors, crawl around, and are attracted to lights. They live in the soil next to the building foundation, under basement floors, in concrete voids or in rotting wood, and feed on honeydew of subterranean aphids and mealybugs, which live on the roots of shrubs planted near residences. Winged forms are dark brown or blackish-brown with brownish, somewhat clouded wings and bodies measuring 3/8 to 1/4 inch long to the wing tips. Workers are pale yellowish-brown, about 5/32 to 3/16 inch long. They cluster around cracks and crevices and, when crushed, give off a strong odor, smelling like “citronella” or a certain kind of toilet soap. They are smooth, shiny, quite hairy, have 12-segmented antennae, one node petiole (long, pointed segment), small eyes on the head, uneven thorax profile, and the anal opening at the end of the abdomen is circular surrounded by a fringe of hairs. Workers stay underground during the day and forage at night.”  Then on BugGuide we found Lemon Ants or Citronella Ants from the genus
Lasius (subgenus Acanthomyops) and we believe that is a correct identification for your sighting.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for May 2018.

Citronella Ants
Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. WhatsThatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

Leave a Comment