There are over 12,000 known species of ants.
Luckily, there are only a dozen that you need to worry about.
For example, there is the Argentine Light Ant (Which I am constantly plagued with), and the Odorous House Ant which is everywhere in North America (Seriously! It’s one of my favorite ants).
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the different types of ants.
- READ MORE: How Long Do Ants Live For?
Types of ants that are found in a colony.
In any ant group, there is the queen ant, the male ant, and the workers.
The queen ant reproduces to protect the colony from extinction, while the male ant mates with the queen for reproduction, after which, they most often die.
The worker ants forage for what they find to sustain the community, protect the queen and colony, take care of her needs, and keep the nest in good shape.
1) The Queen Ant.
As it is often said, the queen ant holds the life cycle of every colony. She exists to reproduce in order for the colony to survive.
The queen ant is usually winged and does nothing other than lay eggs when she grows into an adult. While she heads the colony, other ants take responsibility for her livelihood. They feed her and dispose of her waste. Queen ants are often the largest in every community.
It is said that a queen ant can live for over 27 years. This is, however, dependent on the group. In some colonies, more than one queen can exist. In such cases, the queen ant may not live up to the specified years.
- READ MORE: How To Get Rid of Sugar Ants.
2) The Male Ant.
The male ant like the queen ant, is winged. However, its sole existence is to mate with the queen ant, after which it dies. Because of its fertilization, it mates only with the queen.
Male ants, which are often called drones are much smaller in nature compared to female ants. They often possess long antennas and develop from unfertilized eggs.
In order to mate with the queen, the male ant only surfaces from the colony for one day. After mating occurs, it dies. It takes about 11–14 days for them to die after mating occurs.
3) Worker (Female) Ant.
The worker ants also make up the ant community. They forage for food which the colony survives on.
They are often smaller than the queen, wingless and infertile, i.e unable to reproduce. These worker ants grow from fertilized eggs and are able to live up to two to three years.
Their priority is to take care of the queen, watch over the eggs and the larva, build, maintain and repair the nests, as well as protect the colony from invasion and predators.
4) Soldier Ant.
Soldier ants are also worker ants. As the name implies, they protect the queen and defend their colony from external invasion.
Sometimes, these soldier ants attack other enemy colonies in search of nesting space and food.
In invading an enemy colony, they take possession of eggs that have been laid in that colony. These eggs are taken care of until they develop. After which, they become slaves to the colony.
- READ MORE: HOW TO GET RID OF ANTHILLS FROM YOUR HOUSE.
The Most Common Types of Ants.
1) Carpenter ants.
The first ants we’ll be talking about are the carpenter ants. These insects construct or establish two types of nests; the parent nests and the satellite nests.
Parent nest contains one or more queens, eggs, larva, and workers of the colony, while the satellite nests contain only workers of the colony. In the satellite colony, there is no queen or eggs.
These breeds of ants are reddish-black. They are of the genus Camponotus and habit in trees.
They are usually four to eight-inch in size and possess elbowed antennae with tiny waists and are known for their colossal size.
Carpenter ants do not eat wood, they instead destroy them while using them to put up their nests.
They would excavate the wood to create nests. Their regular eating habit includes things like insects and honeydew secretion. When found in areas where people stay, they feed on jelly, sugar, and food for pets.
This group makes their nests in both moist and dry wood but mostly wet, dampened wood. They prefer to build their nests outdoors on trees.
Though when found in homes, they make their nests in places like bathtubs, water heaters, or rooftops.
These insects can become a problem in your building if in their large numbers.
They can cause major damage to your houses and wooden roofs. Carpenter ants can destroy the woods in your home when they attack.
They get into buildings through broken walls or open doors and windows. Usually they hardly ever sting a person, but when they do, their bites are often painful and they let out a disturbing odor when bothered.
2) Odorous House Ants.
This species of ant gets its name from the awful strong smell it releases after it has been killed.
They are of the genus Tapinoma sessile.
During their foraging, they leave behind trails and can forage both day and night. The odorous ant is one of the most common pests that can be found infesting homes. It establishes its nests in moist areas.
The odorous house ant is reasonably small and is 2.3 to 3.3 mm long. It has an uneven-shaped thorax if viewed from the side with one node on its petiole hidden by its abdomen.
The body is smooth and hairless. Like most ants, the odorous ant is dark brown. It has 12 segmented antennae with no club and neither does it own a stinger.
Dietary regimen: When in search of livelihood, they forage for meals like honeydew from aphids, meats, sugary substances, pastries, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products.
Territory: This ant breed habits both outside and inside. Inside, they build their nests in walls near water heaters, under carpets, in water pipes, and under the ground.
These insects enter homes during the wet/rainy season. Outside, they make their nests beneath soils, under rocks, and in the rubbish.
Risk: If the odorous house ant enters the home, it can contaminate and infect foods and edible products.
Asides from its unpleasant smell, the odorous ant does not cause much physical impact on intruders. It bites, but its sting doesn’t hurt as much and should not be a cause for alarm.
- READ MORE: What Do Ants Eat?
3) Pavement ant.
Pavement ant, also known as immigrant pavement ants, usually habit in soils and areas close to the house, such as lawns, sidewalks, pavements, and so on.
Though they live deep in soils, when they forage for their meals, they enter homes to find any available edibles they can have access to.
The pavement ants are drawn to leftovers, meals that are not properly packed, and those dumped in the refuse. These foods usually make them visit the home often.
Structure: The pavement ant is light brown or black and is about 2.2 to 3 mm.
The appendages of this type of ant are lighter than other parts of the body.
The head and thorax of this insect are paralleled with the thorax inclusive of a head and spine. Their antennae are in twelve segments and their club, three.
Dietary regimen: Pavement ants have a wide range of diets, some of which include meat, vertebrates, dead or living insects, seeds, and honeydew secretion from aphids. They can eat foods humans eat too. Say greasy foods, pastries, crumbs, and leftovers that have been carelessly kept.
Territory: These pests establish their nests outdoors in places like under stones, on pavements, gutter slabs, and on open soils. They can live indoors on places like floors and within walls.
Risk: Pavement ants do not bite but can sting.
They are barely aggressive, calm, and do not appear as challenge physically. Instead of fighting for themselves, they prefer to stir clear from attacks.
Though they do not pose any health threats, they should be kept clear from foods because of their capability to contaminate foods.
4) Pharaoh ant.
A pharaoh ant is one insect that is considered a worldwide household pest. Scientifically, it is known as Monomorium pharaonic.
It has been termed as one of the most difficult pests to control when it attacks a household. It is also known for building nests in homes.
Structure: This species of ants, though small, has varying sizes. From 1.3 to 3 mm long. Its eyes are relatively small, while its antenna has about 12 segments. Each segment contains 3 clubs.
It has a unique and distinguishing look. Its prothorax has subangular shoulders and thorax.
The hair on its body stands, the gaster, and the mandibles are bright, while their color is yellowish-brown and dark abdomens. It possesses a stinger that is hardly used.
Territory: These types of ants inhabit places with humid temperatures. Their nests are made close to their food sources. One thing this ant is known for is its ability to live in just about anything.
When a pharaoh ant enters a home, it can be found in just about anything.
Dietary regimen: They consume fatty foods, sugary substances, and oily foods. Once they invade or infest a place with food, they contaminate the food. The ants, apart from milking on the general ant foods, consume anything you have.
Risk: They have been identified as one of the most notorious house pests because of their ability to live anywhere in the house. Pharaoh ants can live in any place and anything around the house they habit.
5) Acrobat ant.
They gave the acrobat ant the name for the supple way with which it raises its abdomen above its thorax and head when bothered.
These types of ants are light brownish, black, and in multiple colours sometimes.
A fun fact is that these insects protect the aphids that produce the honeydew milk secretion.
Structure: An acrobat ant possesses six legs and an abdomen in a heart-like shape.
Its workers average 3.2 mm, are relatively small, and possess an antenna. They are known for their segmented body that looks like a heart when looked down on. This ant has a stinger with an eleven-segment antenna and a three-segmented club.
Dietary regimen: Acrobat ants feed on insects like bugs, sugary waste, and honeydew. If it comes into a home, it feeds on meat and sweet substances like other ants.
Territory: They live within homes in damp environments and woody areas. Most woods where they create their nests may already have been attacked by termites or other ants like the carpenter ant.
Risk: Acrobat ants enter homes through cracks in walls and openings around pipes. They live and make their nests in woodworks around the house as they make their way into kitchens in search of food.
These different ants are some of the common types that invade the home and create problems and discomfort for house owners. They are similar for one many reasons, which are their ability to work in colonies and become household pests.