Different Types of Ants to Look For

You think if you have seen one ant, you have seen them all? Not so fast! There are many types of ants that can disrupt your home life. Understanding the diverse types, and the damage they can cause, will help in your overall pest prevention. In this article, we will discover how to distinguish between different ant species. They can be grouped into one or two nodes to start with.

Single Node Ants:

Argentine Ants

Let’s start with the light and dark brown Argentine Ant. You don’t have to go to Buenos Aires to find this type of ant. Our history with the Argentine ant traces back to the 1890s, when they came aboard ships from Brazil to New Orleans carrying coffee. They prefer sweets, but they are also attracted to protein rich foods. Their peak reproductive seasons are spring and summer. They prefer moist locations such as sinks and potted plants. To make matters worse, they can carry contamination due to their habit of crawling over garbage and dead animals.

Carpenter Ants

Don’t let the name fool you. Carpenter Ants do NOT eat wood, but they will nest in wood. They will not feed on wood like termites. However, they look to build their nest in dead or decaying tree stumps and wood. Inside, they will nest in wood softened by fungus damage associated with a moisture problem. The wetter and softer the wood, the better for them. When it comes to your home, carpenter ants look to nest in kitchens, bathrooms, and areas associated with moisture problems. When it comes to reproducing, these ants have one or multiple queens that lay eggs. A light crinkling sound coming from inside your walls, plus hollow-sounding wood, sawdust like shaving and/or with fragments of insulation and insect body part can be an indicator of carpenter ants. Their size can range from 3.5 to 13 mm and color can vary among species.

Crazy Ants

If you are an ant that plays by your own rules by not following trails like other species do, you might get labeled a Crazy Ant. Where they do fall into line like other ants is in their feeding habits. Crazy Ants feed on both live and dead insects. They also have a hankering for honeydew and feed on any household food items. If you have any cracked foundations in your home, these ants will find a way inside. They range in color from reddish brown to gray to black.

White-Footed Ants

White-Footed Ants enjoy camping out in moist, decaying trees like many other types of ants, but you might find them in your home as well. These ants camp out under roof shingles and skylights. In your kitchen, they are attracted to sweets. This extremely persistent and invasive ant species, with a brownish-black body and yellow legs, is prevalent in Florida.

Odorless House Ants

Odorless House Ants love to hang in and around a residential structure. These ants will make their home beneath objects like stone, wood, under mulches, and firewood stacks. They love sweets but will feed on meat and grease. They are small ants (2.4 to 3.3 mm) whose body color varies from brown to black. When crushed, they smell like rotten coconut.

Two Node Ants:

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants are good performers and raise down the abdomen arching above the head and thorax when distributed. Outside, they will find a home under rocks, firewood stacks, rotten logs, tree holes, and stumps. Inside, they nest inside wood with fungal damage or high moisture. They feed on live and dead insects and honeydew. These are small ants (2.5 to 4 mm) with heart-shaped gaster.

Pharoah Ants

Pharoah Ants rule when it comes to unique ways of travel. They will sometimes use electrical and phone wiring to travel through walls and floorboards. These ants have a propensity for invading hospital sick rooms to feed on blood and wound dressings. When they are not hunting for blood, Pharoah ants will feast on sweets, oils, and proteins. They come in yellow and red, with a red or black colored abdomen. If you think you can escape them, think again. These ants can be found on every continent except for Antarctica!

Fire Ants

Don’t mess around with Fire Ants, which can inflict painful bites and stings. Two partners in crime are the Native Southern Fire Ant and the Red Imported Fire Ant. The Red Imported Fire Ant found its way from Brazil and Argentina to Mobile, Alabama, in the infested soil used as ship ballast and dumped at the port. The Red Imported Fire Ant builds mounds in almost any type of soil, sometimes reaching 18 inches in height and 10 feet deep in the ground. One will have different size workers with uniform dark reddish-brown body with a stinger. They prefer protein-rich food but feed on anything, including plants and animals.

Big Headed Ant

If you observe workers with big heads and some siblings with small heads, you are looking at Big Headed Ants. They are common throughout the United States and serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms of turkey, chicken, and domestic fowls. They feed on seeds insects but prefer a high-protein diet, and their body color ranges from dark brown through shades of red to light yellow.

Ghost Ants

If you’ve ever turned on the lights in your kitchen, only to see some extremely tiny ants scurrying around, you have just encountered a Ghost Ant. The ghost ant is very adaptable in its nesting habits. They can easily nest outdoors or indoors. Colonies can be moderate to large and contain numerous breeding females. Sites include clumps of dead, but temporarily wet, grass, plant stems, and cavities under debris in rapidly changing open habitats. Inside, the ants colonize in the void of a wall or the spaces between cabinets and baseboards. They will also nest in potted plants. The colonies divide into subunits that occupy different nesting sites and swap individuals back and forth along the olfactory trails. Ghost ants opportunistically nest in places that sometimes remain habitable for only a few days or weeks.


In conclusion, dealing with ants can be a challenge. At least understanding some of the distinct types will give you six legs up on these pests. Unfortunately, this is just scratching the surface. Ants are one of the most prolific species in the world. They range somewhere between 10 to 100 quadrillion in population, with over 1,000 species living in North America!

If you are unsure how to treat a particular ant or don’t have a desire to do so, calling a professional in for help is warranted. When it comes to Ant Pest Control, homeowners normally have trouble controlling one of two different types of ants: large ants, and small ants. Both ants follow pheromone trails. These trails are where a professional pest control company near you would place the bait. Once the ant exterminator places the bait, the ants will take that bait back to their colony, destroying the rest of the colony.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ants

  1. Can all ants see?

Some species of ants have excellent vision with their compound eyes. Some only have eyes to distinguish light from dark, while others are blind and rely heavily on their other senses.

  1. Do ants have a sense of smell?

Ants have a highly developed sense of smell. Ants use their highly developed sense of smell to detect food sources, find their nest, encounter suitable mates for reproduction and detection of predators.

  1. How strong are ants?

Ants are considered by some to be the strongest animals on earth. They are known to lift up to 50 times their own body weight.

  1. Are all ant bites poisonous?

While ants can contaminate food, the most common ant bites are not a source of public health concern. The fire ant, carpenter ant and red harvester ant bites contain venom, so their bite or sting can cause serious reactions.

  1. Do ants fly?

Generally, ants do not fly but ant swarmers (reproductive male and female) will fly at certain times.

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