Common Ants

Common AntsTypes Of AntsAnts Management

Common Ants

  • Ants are social insects
  • Live in colonies that contains three castes- queens, workers and males
  • Queens- lay eggs
  • Workers- sterile females, responsible for gathering food, feeding the brood and queen(s), and defending the nest
  • Males- reproductive stage, dies after mating

Ants can be easily distinguished from termites by several characteristics:

  • Ant bodies appear constricted or pinched in at the waist (shaped like a figure 8), while termites do not have the waist constriction
  • Ants have elbowed antennae, while termites have straight, bead-like antennae.
  • The forewings of ants are much larger than the hind wings. Termites’ wings are equal in size and shape
Acrobat Ants
  • Workers are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, light brownish-yellow, and are recognized by a heart-shaped abdomen.
  • Acrobat ants may nest both outdoors and indoors
  • Outdoor nests are most often in dead and decaying wood such as logs, stumps, dead trees limbs, firewood and hollow tree cavities
  • Nest indoors where moist, damaged wood is present. Therefore, their presence in structures often means a moisture problem or water leak is present. They may also nest in foam insulating board or sheathing
  • Workers feed on live and dead insects, as well as honeydew from aphids and mealybugs
  • When colonies are disturbed, workers will readily bite and emit a repulsive odor

Argentine Ants
  • Workers are approximately 1/8” long and light to dark brown in color
  • Argentine ants have a constricted petiole with one node and the 12-segmented antenna has no club
  • Nest in soil exposed or protected under mulch, rotten wood, standing dead trees, debris, bird nests, bee hives, and many other places
  • Indoor nests are often found in walls of bathrooms and kitchens and in crawl spaces beneath the floor
  • Feed on both live and dead insects, as well as honeydew. They may be attracted indoors by many food types, but prefer sweet foods

Big Headed Ants
  • Small, light brown to reddish brown to nearly black, dull ants
  • Two-segmented petiole. Twelve-segmented antennae with three-segmented club
  • Two worker sizes – minor and major
  • Nest in soil or under stones, logs, wood, or debris. Foraging trails are sometimes soil-covered and resemble subterranean termite foraging tubes
  • Feed on both living and dead insects. Collect honeydew from sap-sucking insects. Forage for sweets, fats, and proteins in homes

Carpenter Ants
  • Adults vary in length from about 1 /4 inch’’for a minor worker, to 1 /2 inch’’ for a major worker, and up to 7 /16 inch’’ for winged reproductives
  • Each colony has one functional, wingless queen, 9 /16 inch’’ long
  • Carpenter ants have only one segment or node between their thorax and abdomen, a circle of hairs at the tip of their abdomen, and an evenly rounded thorax
  • Cannot sting but can inflict painful bites with their powerful jaws and spray formic acid into the wound, causing a burning sensation
  • Omnivorous – eat a great variety of both animal and plant foods, including honeydew from aphids, scale insects and other plant-sucking insects, plant juices, fresh fruits, living or dead insects, other small invertebrates, common sweets such as syrup, honey, jelly, sugar and fruit, and most kinds of meat, grease and fat

Crazy Ants
  • Small workers about 1/8-inch (3 mm)
  • The body has long coarse hairs
  • Easily recognized by extremely long legs and antenna
  • When disturbed, run erratically with no apparent direction
  • Nests in places such as trash, refuse, cavities in plants and trees, rotten wood, in soil under objects and also have been found under debris left standing in buildings for long periods of time
    Workers are omnivorous, feeding on live and dead insects, seeds, honeydew, fruits, plant exudates, and many household foods

Ghost Ants
  • Ghost ant workers are extremely small, 1.3 to 1.5 mm long and monomorphic (one-sized)
  • Head and thorax are a deep dark brown with gaster and legs opaque or milky white
  • Runs in quick, erratic movements when disturbed
  • When crushed, the workers emit an odor similar to that of rotten coconuts
  • Establishing colonies is most likely by budding
  • Multiple queens may be spread out into multiple subcolonies
  • Nest in areas such as tree cavities, under loose bark, at the base of palm fronds, in flowerpots, in and under firewood and under objects on the ground, in wall voids, between and behind cabinets, in potted plants brought indoors and in almost any protected area
  • Feed on honeydew from sap-sucking insects and will also scavenge for dead insects, indoors they are attracted to sweet and protein foods and may infest packages of these foods if accessible

Weaver Ants
  • Particularly attracted to nectar
  • Weaver ants do not have a stinger, but inflict a painful bite which is aggravated by irritating chemicals secreted from their abdomen
  • Choose living leaves to build nests – these provide well camouflaged protection from predators and the elements

Odorous House Ants
  • Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long
  • Dark brown to shiny black
  • Very strong odor when crushed
  • When disturbed, become erratic with their abdomens raised in the air
  • Nest in various habitats including wooded areas, beaches, wall voids, and around water pipes and heaters
  • Feed on both dead and living insects, favoring aphid and scale honeydew. In homes, forage primarily for sweets
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Pavement Ants
  • Workers are all the same size, 3/16-inch long
  • 12-segmented antennae with 3-segmented club
  • Feed on honeydew, insects, sweets, fruit, and greasy foods. These ants can also be found feeding upon pet foods
  • Move in slow deliberate motion and are not easily disturbed
  • Nest near or in cracks of pavement, along curbing or in soil beneath stones
  • Mounds are built along sidewalks, baseboards, and near foundations in clusters

Pharaoh Ants
  • Also called “sugar ant”
  • Body length 1/12 to 1/16 inch long (monomorphic)
  • Body coloration varies from golden yellow to reddish-brown  Have 12-segmented antennae that ends with a 3-segmented club
  • Nest in household structures such as wall and cabinet voids, behind baseboards, behind refrigerator insulation, inside hollow curtain rods, or in the folds of sheets, clothes, or paper. Outdoors nest in debris or cracks and crevices
  • Feeds on sweets (jelly, sugar, honey, etc.), cakes and breads, and greasy or fatty foods
  • Colonies very mobile; workers, along with larvae, pupae, and even a few queens, may move to new locations if disturbed or if colony becomes too large

Little Black Ants
  • Body 1/16 inch in length (monomorphic)
  • Antennae have 12 segments with a 3-segmented club
  • Shiny black
  • Colonies are moderate to large and contain multiple queens. New colonies are formed by swarmers
  • Little black ants may invade homes in search of a wide variety of foods including sweets, meats, grease, and bread. Outdoors, this ant feeds on insects, honeydew, pollen, and sweet plant secretions
  • Nest in many different places, including in mulch, logs, stumps, and in piled items

Fire Ants
  • Workers are polymorphic (different sizes), small, 1/16- to 1/5-inch long
  • Body reddish with shiny dark brown gaster with stinger
  • 10-segmented antennae with 2-segmented club
  • Extremely aggressive; if disturbed, will swarm out of nests and attack in large numbers; can inflict a very painful sting
  • Nest in mounds with multiple openings in soil or lawns, usually in open sunny areas near a water source
  • If undisturbed, mounds may reach up to 18 inches high and 24 inches wide; they become dome-shaped after 2-3 years
  • Feed on living insects, dead animals, and honeydew from honeydew-producing insects. In homes, forage on sweet foods, proteins, and fats

Thief Ants
  • Workers are all the same size, tiny, 1/32-inch long
  • Yellow to light brown with very small eyes
  • 10-segmented antennae with a 2-segmented club ; often confused with Pharaoh ant, (Pharoah ant has 3 segments).
  • Nest outdoors in soil under rocks or in decaying wood. Indoors, colonies found in cabinet or wall voids or behind baseboards
  • Feed on grease and greasy foods, proteins, dead insects, and even dead rodents; may sometimes feed on sweets
  • Often steal food and ant larvae from nests of other ants

Residual Spraying

  • Ants can be kept out of the house by applying an insecticide barrier around the exterior of the building


  • To be effective baits must be placed in areas where ants frequent, eaten and be taken back to the nest
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