Below are pictures and descriptions of many common ants you may encounter in and around your home or office. We are regularly updating with new species, so if you can’t find it, check back or take a picture and send it to us and we’ll identify it and help you with it. Click any picture to enlarge. You’ll find a DO-IT-YOURSELF self help section at the end of each description. Note: Many people think you need a professional grade product to control. Not true. What you need is knowledge.
Acrobat ants are very common in our area but rarely enter the home. They are all black with a pointed gastor. Their name comes from the way they hold their gastor upright. They are about 1/8″ in length. They can bite but do not sting. They are a scavenger but prefer sweets. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Find the trail outside by placing corn syrup in suspect area. Trace them to the nest. We find them in trees, around the roots, in gutters, etc. Apply nearly any pesticide directly to the nest.
Big Headed Ant
Big headed ants are very common. The workers are fairly small about 3/32″ in length. Their name comes from the large head of the soldier up to 1/8″ in length. They can bite, but do not sting. They enter your home through cracks in the floor and around plumbing pipes and are found feeding on pet foods. Control can be difficult because they could be entering under hard wood floors, tile or carpet. They are scavengers, but prefer proteins. DO-IT-YOURSELF: We’ve found the best approach is to lure the pest outside by applying baits to the full perimeter and repeat weekly until resolved. Be patient, it may take a long time.
Florida Carpenter Ant
Florida Carpenter ants are very common and regularly mistaken for termites when they swarm. They are closely related to the Northern Carpenter ant which is all black. They are the largest ant in our area. They are 1/4″ to 1/2″ in length. They bite but do not sting. Their bite is fierce and can puncture your skin. They are commonly found in attics near a water source, like a roof leak or wet AC condensor line. They also nest in gutters, decaying tree stumps or landscape timbers. They are nocturnal. DO-IT-YOURSELF: At dusk they are leaving the nest. Trace them back to the souce. At dawn, they are returning to the nest. Follow them to the source. At the nest, apply boric acid. Beware, their nests can be very large. We’ve seen them several feet in diameter. Once disturbed, they bite everything they can.
Compact Carpenter Ant
The compact carpenter ant is seeming to be getting worse lately. They are smaller than the florida carpenter ant and not as shiny. They vary in size around 3/16″ in length. They do not sting, but can bite. They are commonly found trailing outside the home on walls, wires or tree contact. Their nests are found nearly always in the attic. They are scavengers, but prefer sweets. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Use corn syrup to get a trail going and trace them to the nest. It is usually in the attic. The nest is fairly large, about a foot in diameter and surrounded by bits and pieces of insect parts. Control is a direct hit to the nest with boric acid.
Crazy ants are known for their crazy movement once disturbed. They are about 1/8″ in length and black. They do not bite or sting. They are found trailing fences, in leaves and trailing up and down tree trunks. They occasionally enter the home via trees or plant contact. They are scavengers but prefer sweets. DO-IT-YOURSELF: If they are found inside, use corn syrup to get them to trail. Follow them to the nest. The nest, if inside, is usually in the attic or gutters or other wet areas. The nest moves fast when disturbed. Nearly any pesticide will work directly on the nest.
Elongated Twig Ant
Elongated Twig ants are very common outside and nearly never found inside. They range in size from 1/8″ to 5/16″ in length. They have a very itchy sting. They are found in trees, bushes and trail around the outside of homes. They are commonly confused with Carpenter ants, but a closer look, reveals they are much thinner. They are scavengers, but prefer sweets. DO-IT-YOURSELF: We’ve found nothing to keep this pest away. Fortunately they are rarely found inside.
The Little fire ant is not as common as the Imported Fire ant. They are all the same size about 1/8′ long. They are known very their sting. They are not as abundant in urban areas as they are in rural areas. Mounds are usually insignificant. They are scavengers and are attracted to nearly anything organic but prefer proteins. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Despite what you may have heard, opposing fire ants will not destroy each other. Boiling hot water directly into mound will only kill those in direct contact with water. Grits barely work. The best option is to broadcast a protein or carbohydrate BAIT labeled for fire ant control in the general area of the sighting. Try not to disturb the mound.
Red Imported Fireant
Red Imported Fire ants are a very common problem in our area. They are 1/8″ to 1/4″ in length. They are known for their burning, itchy sting, followed by a pustule. Most insect bites are for defense. This pest stings as a predator. This is why you rarely get one sting. They gather in groups and all sting at the same time trying to bring you down. This pest is found in the yard year round but the mounds are visible only certain times of the year. They are attracted to nearly anything organic but are mostly attracted to proteins. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Note: The mound is only the tip of the colony. Opposing colonies fighting to death is only a myth. Boiling water poured directly into mound will only kill those in direct contact with water and topical insecticides don’t eradicate. Apply a protein or carbohydrate BAIT labeled for fire ants by broadcasting the area of the sighting without disturbing the mound.
Fire Ant Sting on Leg
Fire Ant Sting on Arn
Fire Ant Mound
Fire Ant Mound on Paver
Ghost ants are very common in our area. They are very small about 1/16″ in length. They move very fast relative to their size. They do not bite or sting. They are commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. They are attracted to sweets. They nest in all kinds of areas. We’ve found them in irons, coffee makers, indoor plants, telephones, etc. If not disturbed, you can usually trace them to the outside. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Control is easy if you don’t disturb them. Place drops of corn syrup in their trails and follow them to the source. The nest is usually small and can be controlled with boric acid. Do not use sprays as you will cause this ant to spread.
Pharaoh ants are one of the smallest ants we work with. They are about 1/16″ long. They do not bite or sting and are a real nuisance. They raid your pantry and eat candy, chips, bread, honey, peanut butter, etc. They are commonly seen around water in sinks and tubs. They are attracted to sweets and proteins. Do not use sprays to control, this will cause the pest to bud and you’ll have them everywhere. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Place a protein bait in their path and in the attic. Do not disturb them as they may reject your bait.
White Footed Ant
White footed ants are fairly new to our area and the US. I spotted them in Odessa in 1999, before they were known to be in our area. They do not bite or sting but can be a real nuisance. They are about 1/8″ long and are found most commonly in moisture areas. Once established, their colonies are huge! The largest nest I’ve found was about 20′ long, nesting in insulation under a home. They are attracted to sweets only. Control is very difficult. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Apply a sweet bait in the trails in and out, including the attic and crawl. Pay particular attention to plant contact with home. Their activity rapidly appears and disappears which leads you to believe they are gone. Usually, they’re not. Follow up weekly.