Named for their burning sting, fire ants present quite a nuisance even though they typically are found outdoors. Fire ants are distinguished by their reddish-brown color, with the head more red and the body more dark brown. Fire ants build a series of close, small nests in dry ground, often with an object partially concealing the crater-like entrance. Most nests are out in the open, but sometimes nests appear on the edge of walkways or at the base of plants.
The only acrobatic thing about the acrobat ant is how it curls its heart-shaped abdomen over its back when threatened, like a scorpion. Acrobat ants are small in size, shiny dark brown to black in color, and reside only in moist areas, especially where there is rotting wood. Acrobat ants have a sweet tooth, especially for honeydew excreted by aphids. These ants are like helicopter parents to aphids; they will go to great lengths to protect them, even build a wall of dirt around them.
Perhaps the most widespread and invasive ant across the globe is the Argentine ant. These brown-colored, competitive ants drive other ants out of their nests and take over the territory. Argentine ants prefer nests in dark, moist areas, such as soil, rotting wood, potted plants, under buildings and sidewalks, and inside wall voids. Colonies are very large and often house several queens; sometimes colonies even join together to create super colonies. Argentine ants love to make themselves at home in your home during the winter months when the climate becomes especially cold, wet, or dry. They are small and can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks.
This ant is between 1/16 and 1/8 inch long with a reddish-brown to black colored body. An Odorous ant emits an acrid, rotting coconut smell when crushed. This is what gives this stinky ant its name. You may hear the Odorous ant go by “odorous house ant,” “stink ant,” or “coconut ant.” Antennae are segmented into twelve parts. Odorous ants have an unsymtricle thorax when looked at from the ide view and one node on their petiole. If the Odorous ant perceives a threat, it may move in quick motions while raising its abdomen in the air.
Carpenter ants are large (sometimes up to 1 inch), black nocturnal ants that construct tunnels, or “galleries,” through rotting or moist wood to get to their nest. These tunnels create structural problems for buildings and homes, destroying the integrity and strength of wood, especially around windowsills, decks, and roof eaves. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood; instead, they eat dead insects, sweets, and honeydew excreted from aphids. Often the worker ants of a carpenter ant colony will forage for food up to 100 yards from the nest. A few occasional carpenter ants in your home is nothing to worry about; however, a constant stream of ants usually indicates an indoor nest.
Pharaoh ants are puny, yellow to reddish annoyances found indoors. Once a nest has been established, they are quite difficult to dethrone. They prefer to set up their regime in kitchens, bathrooms, and humid, hard-to-access areas. Most often they are found in hospitals, rest homes, and apartment buildings. In hospitals and rest homes, they present a real health issue because the pharaoh ants will often infest wounds, IVs, and bed pans, spreading the bacteria that causes staph infections. Because they are so small, they can infiltrate almost any food container and will readily go after most foods, especially greases and fats. They are known to infest pet food dishes. Additionally, pharaoh ant colonies readily split up when disturbed, creating a bigger infestation.
The pyramid ant is a small ant about 1/8inch (3.5 mm) in length and has one node on its pedicel. Pyramid workers are all the same size. The most common species is D. pyrwnicus which has a reddish-black head and thorax and a black abdomen. Pyramid ants are generally “yard” ants that because they rarely enter or become pests in buildings. Infestations are generally just the result of foraging workers entering in search of food. Pyramid ant colonies are usually small, containing only a few thousand individuals and a single queen. The pyramid ant usually constructs its nests in soil in open, sunny, vegetation-free areas. As it excavates soil to construct galleries, the workers deposit the soil in a circular crater or mound around the entrance hole. The mound is usually from 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) in diameter. These mounds are often located near the nests of other ants, particularly those of harvester ants.
Little Black Ant
These are the ants that are always ruining your picnic. They are, as the name suggests, little and black. The little black ant will scavenge after whatever human food it can find. It turns out that the little trail of tiny black ants from your picnic basket are just that – tiny black ants! Worker ants are about 1/16 of an inch long, with the much larger queen 1/8 of an inch. Antennae are separated into twelve segments with two-segmented pedicel. Little black ants have unevenly rounded bodies, and queens and males bear wings.
The Rover ant is very small (1/16 to 1/12 of an inch) and can be blonde to dark brown in color. They have one node which has a low peak and is sloped slightly forward of the abdomen is generally carried forward and hides the node. Rover Ants are most often found dead in swimming pools or running vigorously up and down vertical objects such as a blade of grass or the leg of a patio chair. In the wilderness they nest under stones, in the soil or in rotting wood. In buildings we are finding them in high moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens or rooms with past water problems. They can also form sub slab colonies. Rover Ants feed on honeydew which is produced from aphids and mealy bugs.
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