Common types of Ants

Common Types of Ants 

Ants can cause serious problems for your business. Due to their size, it can be difficult to know what ant species you are dealing with and the risk that is associated with them. Use this guide to help identify the most common types of ants to help ensure you can confidently maintain a pest-free facility.

Acrobat Ant (Crematogaster)

  • Found throughout the U.S.; name derived from how it raises its abdomen over its head and thorax when disturbed
  • Workers are the same size, ¹⁄16” – ¹⁄8” (2.5 – 4 mm) long, light brown to black in color, have 11-segmented antennae with a three-segmented club and a thorax with one pair of dorsal spines
  • Infests foam insulation and structures, preferring moisture-softened wood
  • Nests in moderate to large colonies, with swarmers active from mid-June to late September
  • Can sting, bite and emit a repulsive odor 

Carpenter Ant (Camponotus)

  • Found throughout the U.S.; hollows out galleries in moist wood for nests, which can cause structural damage
  • Workers range in size from ¹⁄8” – ¹⁄2” (3.5 – 13 mm) long; are black with combinations of red and black, have 12-segmented antennae with no club, evenly rounded profile on upper side and no stinger
  • Colonies usually have one queen; can have satellite nests separate from main colony with no queen
  • Swarmers appear from May to August in the East and from February to June in the West
  • Do not sting, but can have painful bites and emit a strong acidic odor when disturbed
Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile) is a common Ant

Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile)

  • Found throughout the U.S.; named for strong, rotten coconut-like odor it produces when crushed
  • Workers are the same size and ¹⁄16” – ⅛” (2.4 – 3.3 mm) long, brown to black in color, have 12-segmented antennae with no club; no stinger
  • Major structure-invading species; constructs nests near moisture sources such as voids near hot water pipes and around sinks
  • Prefers sweets but eats greasy foods such as meats and cheeses
  • Colonies have multiple queens; ants from different colonies are friendly and move along trails

Pavement Ant (Tetramorium caespitum)

  • Found in the eastern half of the U.S. and on the West Coast; named because nests are commonly located in pavement cracks
  • Workers are the same size, ¹⁄16” – ⅛” (2.5 – 3 mm) long, light brown to black with paler legs and antennae and a head and thorax that are furrowed/grooved with parallel lines; has 12-segmented antennae, with a three-segmented club, unevenly rounded profile and a thorax containing a pair of small spines
  • Nests inside walls, insulation and under floors and slabs near heat sources during winter
  • Swarmers appear outside in June and July but can emerge anytime inside; workers bite and sting only when provoked

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

  • Found throughout the U.S.; named for Linneaus’ mistaken belief that this ant was one of Egypt’s plagues during the time of the pharaohs
  • Workers are the same size, ¹⁄16” (1.5 mm) long with a pale, yellowish to reddish body and darker abdomen, an unevenly rounded profile, stinger and 12-segmented antennae with a three-segmented club
  • Nests inside warm, humid areas near food and water sources; common in commercial buildings; of concern in hospitals where they will enter patient wounds, IV bottles and tubes; can carry more than a dozen pathogenic bacteria
  • Nests are difficult to find as they tend to be hidden in wall voids and behind baseboards

Thief Ant (Solenopsis molesta)

  • Found throughout the U.S.
  • Workers are the same size, ¹⁄16” (1.3 mm) long, pale yellowish to dark brown, have 10-segmented antennae with a two-segmented club, an unevenly rounded profile and miniscule stinger
  • Nests near other ant species and robs them of food; forages in trails and prefers high-protein foods and sweets
  • Nests inside in small crevices, woodwork and masonry; commonly enters structures during hot weather
  • May carry disease, as it is known to feed on dead animals

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