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A New Species of Ants Appears in New York City

By: Bryan Li

Recently, many apartment owners have found their homes infested with a new species of ants. Katie Guhl, who left her home pristine when she went to attend a wedding, came back to New York to find her apartment swarming with ants.

Many New York residents have also complained about the sudden appearance of groups of ants in their homes, with some saying they “never saw an ant even once” before. These city homeowners are about as confused as they could be, as ants typically like to dwell in soil and grass.

This phenomenon gave graduate student Samantha Kennett, who studies urban ant ecology, an opportunity to put her studies to the test. She studies a specific type of ant, Lasius emarginatus, which originates from Europe and was first discovered in New York in 2011.

This ant, which has a dark brown head and red-brown body, has been given the nickname ManhattAnt. Kennett has been able to find these ants thriving throughout the city in trees and even in Times Square. “It forages in trees,” she said, “It climbs a lot. They found it in second story buildings in Europe.” The height this teeny ant can climb isn’t known, but we know it climbed up to the 25th floor of a building.

However, the ManhattAnts are probably not in your room to look for human food. Mr. Rob Dunn of NC States believes they’re finding water. “This ant, even though it’s living in the most urban habitat, does not appear to be consuming human foods,” explained Ms. Kennett.

Currently, it’s not ant season, so many residents are relieved to not be finding any ants crawling all over the kitchen sink. However, they will definitely make a return around late spring to early summer.

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