Ant Identification

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How to identify different types of ants.
Identifying Different Types of Ants
Ants are a constant irritation around the houses, schools, parks, yards, restaurants, etc. A lot of the time you can identify ants by their colors, which is usually black or red. There are about 1,000 different species of ants in the US alone.

First, identifying what kind of ants that are intruding your area is important when selecting a treatment and a product for your needs. Different ways will work different ant species than other ways and not every ant product is for all ant types.

Keep reading through our Ant Identification Learning Center to be able to identify what type of ant you might have, look to see if you have ants, or even perhaps termites, and look at the many different ant species. Ant species include:

The difference between Ants and Termites
Ant Termite
Most people know what an ant looks like, but sometimes they might have a hard time telling the difference between a termite and an ant. Termites and ants do look a lot alike.

  • Ants have the recognizable body shape of an ant
  • Ant antennae have a bend in them.
  • Ants have longer legs than termites
  • Ants have a thin waist
  • If there are wings, the front wings will be noticeably longer than the back wings on an ant

  • Termites have straight, beaded antennae
  • Termites have a thicker waist
  • Termites have straight antennae
  • Termites have shorter legs
  • If there are wings, both pairs of wings will be the same length on a termite

Ant Size Comparisons
Ant Size Comparisons

Ant Life Cycle

Ants size range anywhere from 1/16" - 1/2" long depending on the ant species.

Ant Shapes and Colors
Ant Anatomy
Ants share the following characteristics:
  • Six legs with three joints each.
  • Large heads with compound eyes
  • Bent antennae.
  • The narrow constriction is called a petiole between the abdomen and thorax
  • Hard exoskeleton covering the body
  • Powerful mandibles
  • Some ants have stingers
  • Ants can be multiple colors, ranging from tan to black depending on the species of ant.

Ant Locations Geographically
Ants can be found in every state of the United States of America.
United States of America

Common Ant Species

Acrobat Ants - Acrobat Ants get their name from their habit of raising their abdomen over their head and thorax. The workers are known to be aggressive and to bite as well as give off an odor when startled or crushed. One of the identifying characteristic is the pedicel attaches to the upper part of the abdomen. When viewed from the top, the abdomen appears to be in the shape of a heart.

Acrobat Ants

Argentine Ants- Argentine ants are an invasive species of ant that are native to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. They are now found in many places around the world, including South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Europe, and the United States. Argentine ants look pretty ordinary, they are small brown ants. They are small and slender, and are dark brown in color. 

Argentine Ants

Carpenter Ants - Carpenter ants vary in size and color, but they are usually on the large side,1/4" to 1/2", and black. Workers usually range in size from 3/8" to 1/2" long and are black or black and red. Sometimes, swarms of winged carpenter ant reproductives will emerge inside a home. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the springtime and is a sign that they are nesting somewhere inside the structure. Queens and males are larger than workers and have wings. Queens will lose their wings when they start a new nest.

Carpenter Ants

Crazy Ants- You can identify Crazy Ants by their erratic and crazy movements when they are disturbed. They seem to just run around aimlessly. Another fact about Crazy Ants is that their legs and antennae are much longer in proportion to the rest of their bodies, compared to other types of ant species. Crazy Ants are known to be an invasive species of ant.

Crazy Ants

Fire Ants - Fire ants can be easily identified by their slight red body color, which ranges from reddish brown to a reddish black. The reproductive males and females have wings. Fire ants also have a stinger in their abdomen, the bite and the sting that these ants can give is quite painful and is what gives them the name of Fire Ants. Fire Ants will build mounds in just about any type of soil, structural foundations, and landscaping in open areas.

Fire Ants

Ghost Ants - Ghost ants get their name because when they run around on light surfaces, their transparent abdomens and legs seem to vanish, leaving only a dark head and thorax able to be seen. Their size varies, but they are commonly about 1/16th of an inch long. Ghost ants can move in an erratic and rapid way. When crushed they give off the foul smell of rotten coconuts.

Ghost Ants

Little Black Ants - Little black ants are a common household invader found mostly in kitchens across the United States. They are small as their name suggests and are only about .06 inches long and black in color with a two-segmented waist. Little black ants are a native species to the United States, they are social and live in large colonies. Little black ants usually swarm from June to August, in which time the reproductive ants will pair off in mating flights, and fly in different directions to form colonies of their own.

Black Ants

Odorous House Ants - Odorous house ants are around 1/8" long, dark brown to shiny black in color. They will smell like rotten coconuts when they are crushed. Their waist is one-segmented and they do not have an obvious node or bump, which distinguishes itself from other small dark ants, including the Argentine ant. They may nest in various areas including wooded areas, beaches, wall voids, as well as around water pipes and heaters. They prefer foods high in sugar but they will east just about anything.

Odorous House Ants

Pavement Ants - Pavement ants get their namesake because they usually nest under sidewalks, driveways, and foundations. Soil along a paved area is a definitive sign of pavement ant activity. Pavement ants are uniformly small, about 3mm long. They are dark brownish to black in color. Pavement ants contain a twelve segmented antennae with a three-segmented club at the end of each antenna.

Pavement Ants

Pharaoh Ants - Pharaoh ants are a very small species of ant, they only reach about 1/16-inch to 3/32-inch in length. Their colors range from light yellow to red in color and they usually have red or black colored abdomens. The queens ants are usually a darker color than the worker ants. Pharaoh ants are frequent home invaders. They are often found around kitchen and bathroom faucets where they can obtain water. Pharaoh ants feed on sweets, but they do prefer fatty foods. Pharaoh ants are more common in warmer climates.

Pharaoh Ants

Thief Ants - Thief ants are small, around 1/32-inch to 1/16-inch and yellow in color; often confused with the Pharaoh ant, but a Thief ant has 2 segments in the club-like structure at the end of the antenna. (The Pharaoh ant has 3). The Thief ants gets their namesake from their habit of stealing food, larvae, and pupae from neighboring colonies. Thief ants are native to the United States and are found throughout the country, primarily in the eastern and central states.

Thief Ants

White-Footed Ants - The best way to identify a white-footed ant is by looking at the section at end of the legs are very light yellow, or yellowish white in color. This is what makes it look like their feet are white. They are medium to small, about 21/2 to 3 mm long. They do not bite or sting, and it has not been reported to cause any structural damage. White-Footed ants are considered to be a nuisance pest because they are often observed foraging in kitchens, bathrooms, and exteriors.

White-Footed Ants

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