Sugar Ants (Camponotus species): We tend to ignore ants in our local environments until they either invade the house or we are bitten. In any given area they are probably the most numerous insects. We have not conducted an ant census at Yallaroo but there are at least five ant species that are observed on a regular basis.
Sugar Ants are one species of particular interest. These ants have pink or red thorax with black head and abdomen. The worker ants differ in size and range from 10 millimetres to 15 mm in length. The workers of other ant species are usually uniform in size.
Although Sugar Ants are social insects, they tend to forage individually and we often find them some distance from the nest. They sometimes enter houses in search of sugar and other sweet substances. They are completely harmless and do not seem to be equipped with biting mechanisms.
Their nests have mounded entrances and in dry inland areas the entrances are composed of Mulga (Acacia aneura) twigs and foliage. At Yallaroo there is a shortage of Mulga and their entrances are constructed of clay, which has been brought up from some depth.
Sugar Ants appear to have other culinary preferences apart from sugar. Near one nest about 18 grevillea seedlings appeared. Grevillea seeds are about one cm long and are surrounded by a fleshy ring (whose name escapes us). We think that the Sugar Ants collected the seeds, carried them to the vicinity of their nest, chewed off the fleshy ring, which they carried into the nest and abandoned the shorn grevillea seeds. Other ant species have been recorded collecting grevillea seeds as well as the seeds of other native plants.