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23 Different Types of Ants You Should Know [WITH PICTURES]

There are many types of ants, and they can be found all over the world. Ants are very important in the ecosystem, as they help to break down dead plant matter and recycle nutrients. They also play a role in pollination.

Ants have been around for millions of years, and there are now more than 12,000 different species of them. While some types of ants are harmless, others can be quite dangerous. It is important to identify different types of ants to take steps to protect yourself from any potential danger.

1. Carpenter ants

Compact Carpenter Ant – Camponotus planatus, Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park, Lake Placid, Florida, April 22, 2021 flickr photo by Judy Gallagher shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Carpenter ants are one of the most common types of ants. They get their name from their habit of hollowing out wood to build their nests.

Carpenter ants are usually black or red, varying in size from a few millimeters to over a centimeter long. While carpenter ants do not sting, they can bite if they feel threatened.

If you think you might have carpenter ants in your home, one of the best ways to confirm is to look for piles of sawdust near where you’ve seen them. You might also see them moving slowly around your kitchen or bathroom, looking for food.

2. Pharaoh ants

IMG_5569 flickr photo by Kurt Komoda shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Pharoah ants are a species of small, reddish-brown ants that are commonly found in homes and other buildings. They get their name from their habit of forming large colonies, which can number in the thousands.

Pharoah ants are attracted to food sources and often build their nests near water sources. They are also attracted to heat, which is why they are often found in kitchens and other warm areas of homes.

Pharoah ants can be difficult to control because they reproduce quickly and can create new colonies by “budding.” This means that if you see Pharoah ants in your home, more than one colony will likely be present.

3. Argentine ants

Penarc, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Argentine ants are small, dark brown to black, common in the Southeastern United States. They are very difficult to control because they have many queens in each colony and can establish new colonies very easily.

Argentine ants do not sting, but they can be a nuisance because they are attracted to sweet foods and invade homes searching for food. To identify Argentine ants, look for small, dark brown to black ants about 2.2 to 2.8 mm long. These ants are typically found in the Southeastern United States and are very difficult to control.

4. Red imported fire ants

Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fire ants are a type of stinging ant that can deliver a painful, burning sensation. They’re called “red” because of their reddish-brown coloration.

Red imported fire ants are originally from South America, but they’ve been introduced to many other parts of the world, including the southern United States. These ants are very aggressive and can quickly build large nests.

They’re also very difficult to control once established in an area. If you think you may have fire ants on your property, it’s important to take action quickly.

Look for large mounds of dirt in your yard, and be on the lookout for reddish-brown ants.

5. Odorous house ants

JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Odorous house ants get their name because they smell like rotten coconuts. These small black ants are common household pests, which can be difficult to eliminate once they’ve taken up residence in your home.

If you think you may have an infestation, there are a few things you can look for. Odorous house ants typically build their nests in moist areas, so you may find them near leaky pipes or damp basements.

You may also see them foraging for food in your kitchen or bathroom. You’ll need to locate and destroy their nest to get rid of odorous house ants, and this can be difficult, as they often build their nests in hard-to-reach places.

6. Ghost ants

April Nobile / © AntWeb.org

Ghost ants are small ants that are most often found in the tropics. They get their name from their pale coloring, which makes them look like tiny ghosts.

Ghost ants are very difficult to see and often mistaken for other ants. However, some distinctive features can help you identify them.

For example, ghost ants have small heads and long, slender bodies. Additionally, their legs are shorter than their bodies, which gives them a distinctive gait.

7. White-footed ants

April Nobile / © AntWeb.org

White-footed ants are small, light-colored ants in many parts of the United States. They get their name from their pale legs, contrasting with their dark bodies.

These ants are often mistaken for termites because of their similar appearance. However, white-footed ants do not have wings, and they do not eat wood. Instead, these pests feed on a variety of plant and animal materials.

They often enter homes searching for food and can be a nuisance to homeowners. To identify white-footed ants, look for small, light-colored ants with dark bodies.

8. Sugar ants

Bidgee, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sugar ants are small, black ants that are commonly found in households (the one shown above is bigger because it’s a queen). They get their name from their love of sweet substances, which they will often collect and bring back to their nests.

While sugar ants are not typically dangerous, they can be a nuisance, and their nests can be difficult to remove. To identify sugar ants, it is important to look for small ones and black ants attracted to sweet substances.

9. Little black ants

April Nobile / © AntWeb.org

Little black ants are a species of ant native to the United States. They are typically between 1/8 and 1/4 inch long and have a shiny black exoskeleton.

Little black ants are often found in homes and other buildings, and cracks and crevices build their nests. They are attracted to sweets and other high-sugar foods, which they collect to return to their nests. Little black ants can be a nuisance, but they do not threaten humans or animals. Rid of them.

10. Pavement ants

April Nobile / © AntWeb.org

Pavement ants are one of the most common in the United States. They get their name from their habit of building their nests in cracks in pavements and sidewalks.

Pavement ants are small, ranging in size from 1/8 to 1/4 inch. They are brown to black and have two nodes on their abdomens. One easy way to identify pavement ants is by their behavior.

When disturbed, they often raise their hind end into the air. If you see an ant doing this, it’s a good bet that it’s a pavement ant.

11. Acrobat ants

 / © AntWeb.org

Acrobat ants are a small species of ant that gets its name from its ability to raise its abdomen over its head, which it does when threatened. These ants are reddish-brown or black and have an uneven appearance due to their long, slender waist.

Acrobat ants are most commonly found in the southeastern United States but can also be found in other parts of the country. These ants have attracted to homes and other buildings thanks to their love of sweets, and Acrobat ants will often invade kitchens in search of sugar and other food sources.

12. Honeypot ants

Greg Hume at en.wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Honeypot ants are a type of ant that is known for their role in storing food. These ants can store large quantities of honey in their abdomens, which they use to feed the rest of the colony during times of scarcity.

Honeypot ants can be found in many different parts of the world, but they are most commonly found in Africa and Australia. While they vary in size and appearance, all honeypot ants share a few key characteristics.

They have small eyes and narrow waists, and their abdomens are greatly swollen. This swelling is caused by a large amount of honey they can store.

If you suspect you have found a honeypot ant, it is best to leave it alone. These ants can be dangerous if disturbed, as they may release their stored honey in self-defense.

13. Leafcutter ants

Yrichon aka Malin Björnsdotter Åberg photo-page, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leafcutter ants (the one above is Honduran!) are small, reddish-brown insects found in tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America. Their most distinctive feature is their large mandibles, which cut leaves into small pieces.

Leafcutter ants build nests by excavating tunnels in the ground and then using the leaves to create a series of chambers. These chambers are used for different purposes, including raising young, storing food, and housing the colony’s fungus garden.

Leafcutter ants are considered to be pests by many farmers because they can defoliate entire crops in a matter of days. However, they are also important pollinators and play a vital role in the ecosystem.

14. Harvester ants

Insects Unlocked, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Harvester ants are a type of ant that is known for their agricultural habits. These ants collect seeds and store them in their nests, and they will also Farm other ants for their honeydew.

Harvester ants are usually red or black and are about 6 to 10 mm long. The best way to identify a harvester ant is by its large jaw, which is used for crushing seeds.

There are three main harvester ants: red harvester ants, black harvester ants, and Texas golden-headed rites. Harvester ants are native to the United States and can be found in states like Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico.

15. Bullet ants

Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bullet ants are large, tropical insects that get their name from their powerful sting. The sting of a bullet ant is so painful that it has been described as “like being shot by a gun.”

Bullet ants are found in rainforests throughout Central and South America. They are black or reddish-brown and can grow up to an inch in length.

Bullet ants typically build their nests in trees or on the ground. If you see an insect that you think might be a bullet ant, it is important to be sure before attempting to handle it.

The best way to identify a bullet ant is by its large size and distinctive coloring. Another way to identify a bullet ant is by its behavior. Bullet ants are aggressive and will readily sting if they feel threatened. If you see an insect that meets these criteria, it is likely a bullet ant.

16. Kidnapper ants

Queen Ant Kidnapper (Aphilanthops frigidus) flickr photo by tcmurray74 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Kidnapper ants are interesting creatures that have a few unique characteristics. For one, they are one of the only ant species with no stinger.

Instead, they rely on their powerful mandibles to capture prey. They can also secrete a sticky substance that helps to immobilize their victims.

Kidnapper ants are typically red or brown and can range in size from 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. If you think you have found a kidnapper ant, it is important to confirm its identity before taking any action because these ants can be aggressive.

17. Big-headed ants

Big head ant flickr photo by jeans_Photos shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Big-headed ants are a type of ant that is native to Australia. They are called “big-headed” because their heads are significantly larger than their bodies.

These ants are black and have a very distinct appearance. If you see an ant with a large head, it is likely a big-headed ant.

These ants are known for being very aggressive and territorial. They will often attack other insects, small animals, and even humans if they feel threatened.

In addition, big-headed ants are also known for being excellent climbers. They can often be seen scaling walls and trees in search of food.

18. Field ants

Richard Bartz, Munich Makro Freak, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

I recently studied field ants up close and learned a lot about these amazing creatures. Field ants are small to medium-sized ants that are native to North America.

They get their name from their habit of nesting in open fields. The most distinctive feature of field ants is their large, dark-colored heads, long antennae, and slender waists.

Field ants typically live in colonies of 1,000 or more. However, some species can have colonies that contain millions of ants!

When foraging for food, field ants will often travel in long lines. If you see a line of ants marching across your lawn, there’s a good chance they’re field ants. While they’re not typically considered to be pests, field ants can become a nuisance if they build their nests too close to human structures.

19. Pyramid ants

April Nobile / © AntWeb.org

Pyramid ants are a type of ant that is native to the United States. They get their name from the pyramid-shaped bumps on their head and thorax.

These ants are small, ranging in size from 1/8 to 1/4 inch. They are brown or black and have a glossy exoskeleton.

Pyramid ants are active and often seen running around in large groups. When disturbed, they release a strong odor from their scent glands.

20. Thief ants

RonelleWhite, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thief ants get their name from their habit of stealing food from other ants’ nests. They are one of the smallest species of ant, and they are difficult to control because they are so adept at avoiding detection.

One way to identify thief ants is their size; they are much smaller than most other ant species. Another way to identify them is their behavior; they are often seen running quickly and erratically as they search for food.

Thief ants are a major pest problem in many parts of the world and can be very difficult to control. If you think you have a thief ant problem, it is important to contact a professional pest control company for help.

21. Citronella ants

Ryan Hodnett, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Citronella ants get their name because they give off a citrusy smell when crushed. You can usually find them near trees, gardens, or potted plants in your yard.

These small, black ants are attracted to sugary substances and often enter homes searching for food.

If you suspect you have citronella ants, the best way to confirm is to set a trap. Place a piece of fruit or honey near an ant trail and observe for several minutes. If the ants are indeed citronella ants, they will be drawn to the sweet scent and quickly begin to swarm the area. Also, seal any cracks or crevices in your home where Citronella ants might enter.

22. Crazy ants

Bentleypkt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Crazy ants are a type of ant that is known for its quick and erratic movements. They are also called “Florida carpenter ants” because they often build their nests in wood.

Crazy ants are small, black, and have very long bodies. They are most active at night, and during the day, they hide in their nests.

If you see an ant moving erratically and seems “crazy,” it is likely a crazy ant. These ants are not dangerous to humans but can be a nuisance if they build their nests inside your home.

23. Cornfield ants

Sanja565658, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cornfield ants are a type of ant that is commonly found in agricultural fields. They are black or dark brown and have a sleek, shiny appearance.

They are most active during the day and are often seen running around in the open. Cornfield ants typically build their nests in the ground, but they may also build them in trees or shrubs.

If you suspect you have cornfield ants on your property, taking steps to control, them is important. Otherwise, they can become a nuisance by invading your home or garden.

To identify cornfield ants, look for small black or dark brown ants with a sleek, shiny appearance. They are most active during the day and are often seen running around in the open.

Why is it important to identify different types of ants?

So why should you care about understanding the different types of ants? Here are just a few reasons I think:

Ants can be a nuisance

One of the primary reasons it is important to identify ant species is that ants can be a nuisance. They can invade your home in search of food and water, and once they find a suitable location, they can establish a colony. This can be extremely difficult to get rid of, and it can be very frustrating.

Some ants can bite or sting

Another reason why it is important to be able to identify types of ant species is that some ants can bite or sting. While most ants are not capable of doing this, some species can. This can be a serious problem if you are allergic to ant venom.

Some ants are beneficial

While most ants are considered pests, some species are beneficial. These ants help aerate the soil and recycle nutrients into the ecosystem, and they also prey on other insects that may damage crops or spread disease.

Tips for getting rid of ants inside your home

Now that you understand the basic types of ants, here are a few quick tips for getting rid of any of these types of ants INSIDE your home:

1. Keep your kitchen clean

One of the best ways to get rid of ants is to keep your kitchen clean. Ants are attracted to food, so if food is left out or crumbs on the floor, they will be drawn to it. Be sure to clean counters, sweep and mop floors, and keep food in sealed containers.

2. Use ant baits

Ant baits are a great way to get rid of ants because they allow you to kill the entire colony. Ant baits contain poison that the ants take back to their nest, where it kills them all. You can find ant baits at most hardware stores or online.

3. Make a homemade ant trap

If you don’t want to poison, you can make a homemade ant trap using borax powder and sugar. Mix equal amounts of Borax and sugar and put them in a shallow dish. The ants will be attracted to the sugar, but the Borax will kill them.

4. Use vinegar

Vinegar is a simple and effective way to get rid of ants naturally. Simply mix equal parts water and vinegar together, put it in a spray bottle, and spray around areas where you’ve seen ants or where they are likely to enter your home.

5. Use lemon juice

Lemon juice is also helpful in getting rid of ants without using chemicals. Combine equal amounts of water and lemon juice in a spray bottle and apply it around areas where you’ve seen ants or where they may enter your property.

Tips for getting rid of ants outside your home

Now here are a few tricks I picked up over the years to get rid of ants that are OUTSIDE of your home:

1. Keep your yard clean

One of the best ways to prevent ants from entering your home is to clean your yard. Be sure to regularly rake up leaves and remove any other debris that may be present. This will make it less likely for ants to build their nests in your yard.

2. Seal up any cracks or crevices

Another way to prevent ants from entering your home is to seal up any cracks or crevices that may be present. This includes cracks in the foundation, around windows and doors, and anywhere where ants might be able to enter.

3. Use ant baits

Ant baits are a great way to get rid of ants inside and outside your home. These baits contain a poison that will kill the ants that consume them. Be sure to place the baits in areas where you have seen ants, so they are more likely to find them.

4. Use insecticidal sprays

Insecticidal sprays can also be effective at getting rid of ants both inside and outside your home. Be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully so that you do not put yourself or others at risk.

5. Use diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that can be used to kill ants and other insects. It works by puncturing the exoskeletons of the insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth can be found in most hardware stores.

6. Make a homemade ant killer

There are many different recipes that you can use to make a homemade ant killer. One popular recipe calls for mixing equal parts sugar and Borax powder together, and the sugar will attract the ants, while the Borax will kill them. Another recipe calls for mixing 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water, and the vinegar will repel the ants while the water drown them.

7. Use citrus peels

Citrus peels can also repel ants as they contain an oil that ants do not like. Simply place citrus peels around doorways, windows, and other areas where you have seen ants enter your home. You can also place them in your yard to keep ants from entering.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ants

What do ants eat?

Ants are not choosers when it comes to food and will eat pretty much anything. They are especially drawn to sweets, but they will also eat proteins, fats, and other types of food.

Why do ants invade homes?

There are many reasons why ants might invade your home. They may be looking for food, water, or shelter and try to escape the cold or find a new place to build their nest.

What types of ants are most common in homes?

The most common home ants are carpenter ants, sugar ants, and Pharaoh ants.

How can I tell the difference between different types of ants?

There are several ways to tell the difference between different types of ants. One way is to look at their body shape. Carpenter ants have thick, robust bodies, sugar ants have a thin, slender bodies, and Pharaoh ants have almost translucent bodies. Another way to tell the difference is by their behavior. Carpenter ants are the only type of ant that nests in wood, Pharaoh ants are the only type of ant that prefers warm environments, and sugar ants are the only type of ant that is attracted to sweets.

What should I do if I see an ant in my home?

If you see an ant in your home, there are several things you can do to get rid of it. You can use a commercial ant killer, place ant baits around your home, or use a natural deterrent like citrus peels.