6 Types Of Black Ants In The USA

No one likes creepy crawlies, but identifying and knowing them is key to eliminating their potential nests and keeping them out of our homes. We have researched the 6 types of black ants that are typically found in the US so you'd be more alert when they start creeping up into your home.

The types of black ants to look out for are the following:

  1. Odorous Ants
  2. Little Black Ants
  3. Carpenter Ants
  4. Fire Ants
  5. Pharaoh Ants
  6. Pavement Ants

Getting to know tiny ants can be a challenge since they look the same, but you won't just be learning how they look like: we'll tell you about their nests, their sting, and how to avoid them. Keep reading below to learn more about the different types of black ants in the US.

close up images of assorted black ants in the USA. 6 Types Of Black Ants In The USA

6 Types Of Black Ants In The USA

There are many types of ants around the US, and they don't attack individually. Spotting a trail of ants inside your home may be common, but sometimes, it's a sign that they're nesting somewhere and are probably infesting unfrequented areas around your property.

You can avoid a possible infestation simply by getting to know the most common ants that crawl into vulnerable spaces and prevent their arrival. The first step to doing that is to get to know what these ants are and what they're capable of. Here are the 6 types of black ants that you should avoid.

Adult Female Odorous Ant of the Subfamily Dolichoderinae

1. Odorous Ants

Odorous ants are one of the ant species you typically see crawling inside your house. One way to identify them quickly is to see if they smell like rotting coconuts when you squish them. Their color typically ranges from dark brown to black, making them easy to spot.

These ants love to scout for food to bring back to their queen, which is why you may see them carrying tiny flakes of food every now and then. They are often found in busy areas such as living rooms, dining areas, and kitchens since that's where we usually eat our food.

How do you eliminate odorous ants?

There's a reason odorous ants are so often found trailing in many homes--it's because they are a challenge to exterminate. Injured ants continue to work and provide for the colony, and the queen can keep laying eggs even with a crushed abdomen.

This means that even if you try to slap the ant trail with slippers, or if you attempt to crush their colony in their nest, they may still continue to operate since they haven't been effectively eliminated.

Although they are difficult to kill, they are still ants--they are vulnerable to insecticides. However, the best way is to still secure your house by sealing up cracks and holes since other colonies will infest your home if it's not sealed up.

Read: "Where Do Odorous House Ants Live."

a closeup view of black ants busy on work

2. Little Black Ants

Native to the United States, little black ants are true to their namesake: they have a dark brown or black body, and they are commonly found trailing in many houses. They operate in large colonies, so it can be difficult to exterminate them especially if they have managed to build several nests.

They are at their peak during warm seasons since that's when they pair off and mate with one another, reproducing more black ants and forming their own colonies.

Little black ants are omnivores. They eat almost anything they find edible, including but not limited to sweet crumbs, bread, fruits, vegetables, biscuits, and other insects.

These little critters nest in moisture-rich environments such as grass lawns and rotting logs. You can prevent their infestation by securing your home and repairing cracks and holes. They also nest between walls, so make sure to check their trail there if you notice them coming in and out.

Are little black ants dangerous?

Although they come in large numbers, little black ants are harmless except on food. They can transfer diseases and bacteria onto the food which can make someone sick when they ingest it.

Make your space inhabitable to black ants by consistently keeping your place clean and dry.

Read: "Do Black Ants Eat Wood."

carpenter ants building a nest inside a small crack on wood

3. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants got their reputation in the way they build their nests: they love to chew on wood without eating it so they can form tunnels in which they reside. They are usually larger than other black ants, their size ranging around 1/2-inch.

You can spot an infestation if you notice some of your wood furniture getting hollowed out. You should also notice coarse specks of dust of shredded wood peppered across the floor--they are the remnants of the wood that has been chewed by the carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants have two types of colonies: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies have an egg-laying queen aside from the workers, while satellite colonies are comprised of only the workers but with no queen.

You should take note of their colonies when trying to exterminate carpenter ants. The colony nesting in your furniture could only be a satellite colony and the parent colony is somewhere outside ready to infest.

Close up of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) on top of plank of wood

4. Fire Ants

Fire ants come in different colors: red, reddish-brown, and black. However, their namesake doesn't come from their appearance alone but from the sting of their bites. They are known for being aggressive as they sting any animal that comes between them and their food, which makes them a dangerous pest.

The sting carries venomous alkaloids, which can be life-threatening for some humans. Seek immediate medical attention if you feel severe chest pain, nausea, sweating, breathlessness, and swelling around the infected area.

They are attracted to sweets and crops, feeding on fresh produce and germinating seeds. If not immediately removed, they can create a nest as deep as 6 feet with 15 inches above the ground.

Since they can be dangerous, it is important to quickly identify and exterminate them. If you notice getting sting bites every now and then, and if you notice your plants getting destroyed, it may be time to call pest control services.

Removing fire ant nests yourself can be dangerous, so it's better to call a professional when there's a fire ant infestation.

Group of pharaoh ants roaming around for food

5. Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants have a pale body, but their abdomen is easily noticeable as it is black in color. They are native to Africa, and their namesake came from an incorrect belief that they were part of the seven plagues of Egypt during the era of Pharaos.

Pharaoh ants typically nest indoors and within moisture-rich areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. They can hide under floorboards, wall voids, or behind unattended appliances. They feed on sweets, oils, produce, and protein.

Since they feed on practically everything, they can infect your food with harmful diseases such as Salmonella and Streptococcus. It's best to get rid of infested food immediately to prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading in your home.

They are challenging to exterminate since they know how to bud or form in separate groups to create their own colony when they sense danger. For this reason, it is best to contact pest control services to effectively eliminate these ants.

Pharaoh Ants

6. Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are 1/8-inch in size and they have a brown or black body. True to their namesake, they frequent hard structures and urban spaces such as pavements, buildings, and masonry walls. They nest wherever there is warmth, so it can be easy to locate them.

They are generally harmless, but as with any other ant species, they can contaminate food.

To prevent them from infesting your home, trim down branches that lead to the inside of your house since they can use it as a bridge. Seal all the cracks and repair holes so they won't have anywhere to enter through.

Keep firewood away from your house exterior too since they tend to build their nests in hard structures. Should they manage to enter, make your home inhospitable to them and get a dehumidifier to keep your corners dry and clean.

Close up Black ant nest in red soil. 6 Types Of Black Ants In The USA

Final Thoughts

Having an ant infestation in your home is always a nuisance, regardless of how harmless they are--but even more so if they are harmful. As always, prevention is better than cure, so make sure you secure your home both outdoors and indoors.