Elongate/Mexican Twig Ants

Facts, Identification, & Control

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

APPEARANCE

What Do They Look Like?

  • Size: Elongate Mexican twig ants are 8 to 10-mm in size.
  • Body: Adults are best described as large slender ants that, when viewed from above, look like wasps without their wings.
  • Color: Their coloration differs greatly, but generally these ants range from a mixture of dark brown-black to an orange-brown. They commonly have dark-colored heads and abdomens with light-orange thorax’s.

How Did I Get Elongate Twig Ants?

Elongate twig ants are seldom found inside homes and are not numerous outdoors. They may get indoors when homeowners bring potted garden plants inside. While they can live in wooden doorframes, home infestations are rare.

Gardeners and landscapers are most likely to see these insects. Small colonies typically nest in plant stems or among dead foliage.

How Serious Are Elongate Twig Ants?

There is little or no ornamental plant or structural damage caused by elongate twig ants, even though these ants have rarely been found nesting in wooden doors inside homes.

Stings
These ants possess a painful sting, but they aren’t as aggressive as red imported fire ants. Elongate twig ants have a long-lasting sting, but only inject venom for self defense. Residents often avoid injury by gently brushing these ants from skin or clothing rather than striking them.

SIGNS OF INFESTATION

The appearance of stinging ants and swarms of winged reproductives are signs of an elongate Mexican twig ant infestation.

How to Get Rid of Elongate Twig Ants

What Orkin Does
Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage elongate twig ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep elongate twig ants in their place and out of your home or business.


BEHAVIOR, DIET, & HABITS

Pseudomyrmex gracilis swarms and stings enemy nest invaders. This behavior is important since these ants are considered beneficial insects as a result of preying on pest insects and defending their nests. Unlike many other kinds of ants, elongate twig ants are solitary hunters.

Where Do They Live?
Elongate twig ants seek hollowed-out cavities of plant material like dead twigs and small branches in order to house their small, single-queen nests. Some of their more typical habitats include:

  • Fields
  • Hardwood trees
  • Mangroves
  • Rainforests

Nests
Nests have only one, small entrance and may be inhabited by only a few ants. Elongate twig ants excavate nesting cavities themselves if the nesting material is flexible and soft. They may also nest in tunnels made by wood boring beetles.

These ants do not create pheromones to aid in nest relocation. Instead, when they need to move and create another nest, adult workers carry other mature workers, queens, and males to the new nest site.

Geographical Range
In some parts of their geographical range they are called elongate twig ants as well as elongate Mexican twig ants. Originally brought to the United States from Mexico, they established in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Hawaii.

Reproduction
The reproduction of elongate twig ants begins when the virgin queens leaves their nests to mate with males. After mating, the queens begin a new nest by laying eggs and tending the brood. Once the first group of workers develop, they take control of colony maintenance and provide food sources, so the queens are only responsible for laying eggs.