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White-footed Ant (Technomyrmex difficilis)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the White-footed Ant

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Image Credit: Anonymous, taken in western WA
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This difficult pest breeds quickly, leaves trails for others, and sometimes builds its large colony indoors.

Updated: 04/30/2022; Authored By ; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The White-footed Ant's species name is difficilis and rightly so. This pesky ant builds large colonies that take time and management to control. It is also called the Difficult Techno Ant, an abbreviation of its genus name, Technomyrmex. It is black with white legs that may have a yellow hue to them. It breeds rapidly, with females laying scores of white eggs that are cared for by the colony. Nests are typically built outside in leaf litter or hollows in trees, but sometimes they find a way in buildings and make a home inside. Attics are common nesting sites, but residents usually see active foraging in the kitchen and bathroom.

This ant does not bite or sting, but its presence is a nuisance to homeowners. White-footed Ants feed on sugar, sweet foods, and sweet liquids including plant nectar and soda. Keeping food in airtight containers can reduce foraging. Regularly checking the perimeter of the house or building for trails of ants can help detect their presence early in a colony's development. Professional exterminators can successfully eradicate a colony, but it may take time and multiple treatment strategies because one large colony is often connected to a nearby colony through pheromone trails.

First seen in coastal states, the non-native White-footed Ant is expanding its range in North America and, given time, is likely to become a common insect pest across the continent.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the White-Footed-Ant

sugar; honeydew left behind on plants by aphids; sweet beverages
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Formicidae
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          Genus: Technomyrmex
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            Species: difficilis

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Technomyrmex difficilis
Other Name(s): Difficult Techno Ant
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 2mm to 4mm (0.07" to 0.15")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white
Descriptors: white legs; black ant; pest; stingless; odor; kitchen; bathroom

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 2mm (0.1in) and 4mm (0.2in)
Lo: 2mm
Md: 3mm
Hi: 4mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the White-footed Ant may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the White-footed Ant. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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