Got ants in your pantry but don’t know what kind they are? If you want to know what some of the crazy varieties of ants look like – including the crazy ant itself – you’ve come to the right place.
fl_carpenter1

HABITAT

Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut “galleries” into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

Sweets and proteins are the preferred food sources. Protein sources include both living and dead insects. Sweets included honeydew and sugar sources inside homes. These ants forage alone or in groups. Foraging ants are more likely to follow structural guidelines than trails. Peak foraging activity occurs at night. Colonies have a single queen. Workers are polymorphic.

DISTRIBUTION

Southeastern United States
black_carpenter1

HABITAT

Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut “galleries” into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

Carpenter ants prefer sweets, although they also feed on living and dead insects. These ants forage alone or in groups, but do not follow trails very strongly. Peak foraging activity occurs at night. Colonies have only one queen and often consist of a parent nest with the queen and satellite nests. Workers are polymorphic.

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern and central United States
redimported_fire1

HABITAT/ WOOD PREFERENCE

Fire ants live primarily underground in vertical columns that extend down as far as three feet below the surface. After cool, rainy, weather fire ants clear blocked tunnels and expand chambers to create those tell tale ant hill mounds that we all try to avoid stepping in. When the temperature is favorable, some of the ant colony will actual dwell in this above ground extension and place their developing brood in it.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

These ants feed on sweets, fats, and proteins. They also feed upon living and dead insects and animals. Foraging ants form tightly linked trails. Colonies usually have one queen, but can also have multiple queens. Workers are extremely aggressive when the nest is disturbed. Workers are polymorphic, or highly variable in size.

DISTRIBUTION

Southeastern United States
odorous_house1

HABITAT

This ant is very opportunistic, living in a variety nesting sites, moving constantly to avoid the perils of inclement weather conditions. Not only will you find huge super colonies, but also many satellite colonies located close to the main colony. They are often located in mulch and under rocks or logs. Indoors, ordorous house ants nest in wall and floor voids, and are often associated with humid, enclosed areas such as under toilets.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

When crushed, the workers of this species give off an odor which resembles that of rotten coconut, giving them their odd name. Foragers search for dead insects, sweets, meats, and will tend insects for honeydew. Foraging ants strongly follow trails. Colonies can reach large numbers, with over 100,000 individuals. Odorous house ant colonies are polygynous. Workers are monomorphic.

DISTRIBUTION

Throughout the United States
argentine_ant1

HABITAT

These ants will set up quarters in the ground, in cracks in concrete walls, in spaces between boards and timbers, even among belongings in human dwellings. In natural areas, they generally nest shallowly in loose leaf litter or beneath small stones, due to their poor ability to dig deeper nests. However, if a deeper nesting ant species abandons their nest, Argentine ant colonies will readily take over the space.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

The worker ants are about 3 millimeters (0.12 in) long and can easily squeeze through cracks and holes no more than 1 millimeter (0.039 in) in size. Queens are two to four times the length of workers. Argentine ants feed on sweets and will tend insects for honeydew. They will also forage indoors for proteins and sweets. Foraging ants form tightly linked trails. The colonies of these ants have multiple queens in several nesting locations. The colonies can reach enormous sizes, with millions of individual ants. Workers are monomorphic, or uniform in size.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern United States and California. Spreading northward into the Midwest.
pharoah_ant1

HABITAT

Pharaoh ants nest almost exclusively indoors, utilizing wall voids, cabinets, electrical sockets, and other humid, enclosed areas.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

These ants feed on sweets and dead insects. Trail following is strong and tightly linked. The pharaoh ant has multiple queens and nesting locations. Colonies will nest indoors and forage outdoors for dead insects on window ledges. Workers are monomorphic.

DISTRIBUTION

Throughout the United States
crazy1

HABITAT

The crazy ant is highly adaptable, living in both very dry and rather moist habitats. The crazy ant thrives in places such as gasoline stations, convenience stores, and sidewalk cafes where workers may be seen transporting crumbs and insects attracted to lights. They can also be found under concrete slabs, crack in floors, and underneath plants.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

Foragers prefer sweets such as honeydew from insects. Crazy ants also feed upon insects and seeds for protein. Workers are well known for their erratic gait, and often do not follow strongly to trails. Colonies are monogynous, with a single queen. Nests can be transient, workers may quickly move the colony if disturbed. Workers are monomorphic.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern United States
bigheaded1

HABITAT

The Bigheaded ant is sometimes confused with subterranean termites because it may create debris-covered foraging tubes that are somewhat similar, albeit much more fragile, than termite tubes. More often these ants leave piles of loose sandy soil. Homeowners are annoyed by these “dirt piles” and by ants foraging in bathrooms, kitchens, around doors, and windows, as well as on exterior paved or brick walkways or driveways.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

Bigheaded ants nest in colonies underground. Colonies can have several queens and super-colonies can be formed by budding, when a queen and workers leave the original nest and set up a new colony nearby without swarming. In Florida, nuptial flights of winged ants take place during the winter and spring and afterwards, fertilized queens shed their wings and find a suitable site to found a new colony where they start laying eggs. Each queen lays up to 290 eggs per month.

DISTRIBUTION

Throughout the United States
ghost1

HABITAT

Outdoor nesting locations include trees and plants. Indoors, the ghost ant nests almost anywhere, including potted plants, wall voids, microwaves, and other enclosed areas.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

The ghost ant gets its name from the pale color of its legs and abdomen. These ants have dark heads and thoraxes. The legs, antennae, and abdomen are so light that these ants are often difficult to see. Ghost ants are tiny ants, with the workers only about 1/16” long. Ghost ants prefer sweets and dead insects. Colonies contain many queens and may be subdivided into many nesting locations. Workers are monomorphic.

DISTRIBUTION

Florida and northwestern United States
whitefooted1

HABITAT

White-footed ants infest both urban and suburban habitats, spreading to other areas through the transportation of infested landscaping materials and plants. They can infest indoor areas in search of food and are found in bathrooms, kitchens and along the exteriors of homes.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

These ants tend insects for honeydew. They also forage for dead insects. Foraging ants form tightly linked trails. Colony population levels can reach enormous numbers, with millions of ants. The colonies also have many queens. Food is transferred among the colony by production of trophic eggs, rather than by trophallaxis. Workers are fairly uniform in size.

DISTRIBUTION

Florida, Hawaii, and California

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