411 Bug Identification : Ants

Acrobat Ant

Acrobat Ant
(Crematogaster sp.)

Length: 1/8 inch
Color: Yellow-brown to Dark brown
Location: (Southeastern states, commonly found in Florida)

Indoors: Wood cavities and foam insulation
Outdoors: Decaying wood, damp soil, and beneath rocks
Description: These ants received the name acrobat because they balance their abdomen above their body while they move.
Dangers: Although small, they can bite humans/pets and invade food sources, making the food unsuitable for eating. The ants create cavities in wood, causing structural damage and possible loss of a residence.

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Argentine AntArgentine Ant
(Linepithema humile)

Length: 1/8 inch
Color: Shiny brown
Location: Southern parts of the U.S.
Description: Argentine ants set up residence in concrete cracks, spaces between wood, and under leafy ground areas.
Dangers: If the argentine ant invades an area, it will destroy or replace all of the other species of insects/animals in that location. This leads to damaged ecosystems, which hurts all of the other species in that ecosystem. Argentine ants also protect aphids, which causes plants and trees to die because of the lack of sap.

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Big Headed AntBig-Headed Ant
(Pheidole spp.)

Length: 1/10 to 1/7 inch
Color: Light brown to red brown
Location: Found throughout the entire U.S., but most prominent in Florida
Description: These ants are active foragers and will take up residence anywhere that soil is likely to become damp. They also tend to form “super colonies” that can span the length and width of a city block.
Dangers: If these ants are given enough room to form a “super colony” the ground will become weak and give out after a period of time. They have also been known to ruin wooden structures and entire supplies of timber.

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Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant
(Camponotus pennsylvanicus)

Length: ½ to 1 inch
Color: Tan to Black
Location: Throughout the entire world.
Description: These ants get their name because of their attraction to wood. They build their homes in any hollowed out trees, firewood, plywood, or fence posts that they can find. They feed on insects and the secretion of insects.
Dangers: Carpenter ants build their homes by hollowing out spaces in the types of wood they prefer to live in. This causes structural damage and the possibility of unsafe living because of weak housing bases. Carpenter ants need to be dealt with by professionals because of the dangers of leaving hollowed wood in the foundation of a house.

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Cornfield AntCornfield Ant
(Lasius alienus)

Length: 1/10 inch
Color: Brown to Black
Location: All of North America (Excluding the Southern and Southwestern regions)
Description: The cornfield ant gets its name because of its tendency to reside in cornfields and destroy many of the crops. It builds its colonies in cornfields and will invade homes, given the opportunity.
Dangers: This ant will destroy entire fields of corn and ruin many grass areas.

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Fire AntFire Ant
(Crematogaster sp.)

Length: 1/8 to ¼ inch
Color: Red
Location: Mostly world-wide, but with specific concentrated areas in the Northern hemisphere
Description: There are over 285 species of fire ants worldwide. Their colonies can reach the hundreds of thousands. They feed mostly on young plants, crickets, and seeds. They nest in the soil on the banks of water sources.
Dangers: Fire ant venom consists of piperidine which causes a red mark and bump at the area of the bite. Some people can be extremely allergic to the fire ant and may need medical attention immediately

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Ghost AntGhost Ant
(Tapinoma melanocephalum)

Length: 1/16 inch
Color: The front half is dark while the back half is pale/light
Location: Most of the U.S. (Heavy in Hawaii and Florida)
Description: Because they are hard to see, many people have ghost ants in their home but do not realize it. They have a high attraction for moisture but can also live indoors as a colony.
Dangers: When deceased, ghost ants emit a particularly foul smell. They also invade and take over any location they desire, eradicating other species, and making plant growth difficult.

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Large Yellow AntLarge Yellow Ant
(Acanthomyops interjectus)

Length:  ¼ to 3/8 inch
Color: Yellow to Orange
Location: United States excluding most of the Midwest
Description: Large yellow ants get their nickname “citronella ants” because they smell like lemon. They usually reside under rocks, logs, and anywhere that provides shade and cool. They resemble termites, which frightens most people.

Large yellow ants construct soil mounds in crawl spaces and basements. These ants are able to swarm in and out of households.

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Little Black AntLittle Black Ant
(Monomorium minimum)

Length: 1/16 inch
Color: Black
Location: United States East coast
Description: Little Black Ants have workers that are all the same. This makes a colony easier to identify. They are the most common house invader, residing in walls and floors. Some can fly and start new colonies.
Dangers: The main danger of these ants is infestation. If they are allowed access to a house they will most likely invade it and colonize inside of the house.

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Pavement AntPavement Ant
(Tetramorium caespitum)

Length: 1/8 inch
Color: Dark brown
Location: Eastern United States (Heavy in New England)
Description: Pavement Ants are all one size and nest in the same spots as most ants; under wood and foundations, in timber, and other secluded seldom-touched spots. They are known to move indoors when looking for more food sources.
Dangers: As a colony, these ants are known to attack other colonies of ants and even other species. They are able to contaminate food sources and need to be controlled or eradicated.

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Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ant
(Monomorium pharaonis)

Length: 1/16 inch
Color: Yellow to Red
Location: Most parts of the world
Description: This ant is known for being a major pest of hospitals. It will find small crevices or openings and get into main areas of a hospital. Pharaoh ants are known to move the entire colony to a new location for no apparent reason.
Dangers: Pharaoh ants make trails and forage throughout households and buildings looking for food.

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Pyramid AntPyramid Ant
(Dorymyrmex pyramicus)

Length: 1/8 inch
Color: Red head and black thorax
Location: Most of the United States (Heavy in the south)
Description: The pyramid ants get their name from the coned shape of their mounds. They do not like to build their mounts anywhere close to vegetation, preferring an open dry area. Pyramid ants like to build their nests close to other ants’ nests.
Dangers: Pyramid ants condone the living of fire ants, making them dangerous near residential or populated areas.

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Small Honey AntSmall Honey Ant
(Prenolepis imparis)

Length: 1/8 inch
Color: Light to dark brown
Location: Eastern United States and Canada
Description: This ant is one of the only ant species that is resistant to cold weather. Even so, they usually reside in warmer areas because of the abundance of food and vegetation.
Dangers: Like many ants, the small honey ant is a forager and can destroy food sources and vegetation in populated areas.

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Thief AntThief Ant
(Solenopsis molesta)

Length: 1/32 to 1/8 inch
Color: Yellow to Brown
Location: United States (Heavy in the Midwest and East coast)
Description: Thief ants are able to survive in almost any conditions. They can travel with a few hundred to a couple thousand worker ants. These ants will live among other ant colonies and eat their food.
Dangers: These ants are very bothersome because it is hard to find them once they take over a human dwelling. They are not attracted to normal ant traps and will leave their nest for unknown allotments of time.

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