I believe that these are Citronella ants. Photo taken mid-afternoon from a shovelful of earth as I prepared the asparagus bed on the east side of StellaLou; temperatures low 40’s on March 28, 2013.
I disturbed these ants that nested in a tiny cavern in StellaLou’s silt loam soil. They weren’t the type, apparently, to put up a big fuss and seemed to just go about their business. There was no attack of pinching or biting to protect their home as I leaned in to take a shot of the nest. It is said that the Citronella ant gives off a lemony scent like that of (no surprise) citronella when threatened or injured. I didn’t know that at the time and did not notice the scent. Though, I hope I don’t do any more home wrecking; if I see these ants, again, I will be employing my olfactory sense with a little more attention! I don’t know much at all about ants and worked on trying to identify these via Google searches. I was amazed that the majority of websites that came up in my search were from pest control companies. And, then, I found this link which described the Citronella ant as “charming” and “endearing.” Thank you for that attitude, Mr. Alex Wild and for your wonderful site, “Myrmecos.” There, certainly, is plenty to learn about “these and other little creatures that share our planet.”
Update 4/8/2013: Yes, indeed, there is a distinct smell of citronella with these ants!