Types of Ants

Have you ever thought about how many different types of ants exist? There are almost 12,000 named species of ants that live on all of the continents of the Earth except Antarctica. At least 60 species of ant call North America home.

Types Of Ants In Your Yard

Ants, members of the same insect family as bees and wasps, have developed intricate social patterns and live in colonies that may contain as many as 500,000 individuals. Although you may only see a small mound of dirt on the surface, ant nests contain hundreds of interconnected underground cells that can range several feet in every direction. Here's a look at some of the types of ants you might find in your backyard:

  • Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum) - These brown to black ants are about 1/10 of an inch long and tend to nest under stones or in cracks in curbs or sidewalks. Pavement ants have dark parallel lines on their heads and backs, while their legs tend to be lighter colored than the rest of their bodies. Pavement ants will forage indoors for food and water.
  • Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) - Red in color and growing to ¼ of an inch long, fire ants are very aggressive. Fire ants sting by biting with their strong jaws while they sting from the abdomen. When provoked, a single fire ant will sting multiple times. Fire ants were introduced to the US in 1930 from a cargo ship that made port in Alabama and are now common throughout the southern half of the US.
  • Carpenter Ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) - These large (up to ½ inch long) black ants Commonly live outdoors in dead or diseased trees. Although they don't actually eat wood, carpenter ants can destroy a home as they chew nests and passageways into structural wood. Carpenter ants prefer soft wood, so most home infestations occur in wood that is older or has been moisture damaged.
  • Pharaoh Ants (Monomorium pharaonis) - These small (1/16 of an inch) golden yellow ants have black markings on their back. Pharaoh ants don't like cold weather and are often found nesting in buildings. Pharaoh ants are most commonly found in hotels, hospitals and restaurants.
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