The citronella ants get their name from the lemon or citronella odor they emit when threatened. It is most noticeable when the ants are crushed. Small,yellow ants are the workers. The swarmers (winged ants) may vary in color from the more common light yellow to a dark reddish-yellow or light brown. They are subterranean insects that feed on the honeydew (excretions) of aphids and mealybugs feeding on the roots of shrubs.
Nest sites may include open woods, pastures and fallow fields, gardens, lawns, and next to house foundations. Also, some colonies are located beneath concrete slabs and large rocks, and in and beneath rotting logs.
The most common swarming occurs in mid- to late summer, Normally, they go unnoticed unless the swarmers enter through expansion cracks in slabs or around door openings. Although these intrusions may alarm homeowners, the ants will not reproduce within the home nor will they attack stored goods or structures.