What You Need to Know about the Trap Jaw Ant

October 29, 2014By

When you think of pest control, ants may not necessarily come to mind. They tend to seem fairly unthreatening when you compare them to menaces like termites and bed bugs. But with over 12,000 different species on the planet, it’s hard to generalize how much of a pest any one of them can be. The trap jaw ant, for example, has been slowly gaining ground throughout the Southeast and leaving plenty of homeowners longing for the days they had never heard of this vermin.

Identifying the Trap Jaw Ant

These ants can be anywhere between yellow and black in color, though their bodies tend to have a certain amount of luster to them.

By far their most notable trait, however, is the one they take their name from: their jaws. The mandible on this ant is immediately noticeable as it protrudes out from their head and closes horizontally.

trap jaw ant

trap jaw ant

Unlike some aggressive forms of decoration in the animal world, these jaws are not just for show. The trap jaw ant actually holds the distinction of having the fastest bite in the whole animal kingdom. These ants have been recorded moving their mouths as fast as 207 feet per second. That’s a little over 140 mph! A trap jaw ant, then, can close its mandibles so quickly you won’t even see it—at a rate of 2,300 times faster than you blink your eye.

Crazier still is how the trap jaw ant has learned to use these mandibles. Aside from being able to land the fastest bite known on food and enemies, these ants actually rely on their mouths for travel.

A trap jaw ant will snap their mouth against the ground, so that the force pushes them backward into the air as much as 3.3 inches. This helps make this pest extremely mobile and able to negotiate landscapes other ants may have a harder time with.

Although these ants are not known for being especially aggressive, their jaws are also not something you want to risk coming into contact with. If you become a threat to them, their bite is said to be quite painful, although it doesn’t last for very long.

Taking Over the South

Originally from South America, it’s not known how the trap jaw ant ended up in the Southeast. However, it’s believed that this infestation isn’t a new one. In fact, experts think these ants have been procreating in the Southeast for over five decades. It’s just that, recently, their numbers have finally gotten so big, they can no longer be ignored.

Making matters worse, their migration seems to be particularly ambitious. Only a few years ago, these ants were only seen around the Orlando area. Now they’ve expanded to the Gulf Coast and have been seen all over Mississippi and Louisiana.

Call Fischer Environmental Services Immediately

The moment you identify a trap jaw ant on your property, call Fischer Environmental Services. Like other ants, this species is not a solitary one. So, if you see one, chances are there are thousands nearby. They are also extremely adaptable, meaning they can make a home in vegetation on your property, under the foundation in concrete or just about anywhere else.

As we mentioned before, aside from potentially damaging your property, they may also decide to attack you or your loved ones. Those who have allergies will be especially agitated by a trap jaw ant’s bite. This is why it’s so important to immediately call us at Fischer Environmental Services instead of trying to handle an infestation on your own.

Though it appears the trap jaw ant is a pest that’s in Mississippi and Louisiana to stay, that doesn’t mean you need to offer them a place to live. Let Fischer Environmental Services ensure they don’t become a permanent problem for you.

 

Sources:

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/06/24/chomping-invaders-alien-trap-jaw-ants-spread-along-gulf-coast/

http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2010/04/how-many-kinds-of-ants-are-there.html

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/content/kids/en_US/explore/nature/fastest-jaw-on-the-draw/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618111807.htm

http://www.alphaecological.com/news/new-ant-species-taking-over-the-southeast/

Filed in: Ant Control