Acrobat ants get their common name from their ability to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head, especially when disturbed. There are various species of this light brown to black ant found throughout the United States, even at altitudes of up to 8,000 feet.
Argentine ant colonies can grow to monumental size. A single colony can contain several hundred thousand workers with the colony borders sometimes cover entire habitats. These dark brown to black ants give off a musty odor when crushed.
Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. These are large ants ranging in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
Crazy ants get their common name from the workers’ habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food.
The common name of the field ant comes from its preference for nesting outdoors. The field ant is the largest genus of ants found north of Mexico. Field ants are also known by many other names such as thatching ants, red ants and wood ants.
Ghost ants get their common name from the fact that they are very hard to see due to their pale color and tiny size. They are a tropical species, probably of African or Asian origin. In the United States, ghost ants are found primarily in central and southern Florida and Hawaii. This type of ant is unable to survive in the northern states except in greenhouses and heated spaces.
The harvester ant gets its common name from its behavior of collecting seeds. There are 22 species of harvester ants found in the United States. The most common types of harvester ants are the California harvester ant, Florida harvester ant, red harvester ant, black harvester ant and the Western harvester ant. All are limited to west of the Mississippi River except the Florida harvester ant.
Leafcutting ants get their name from their habit of cutting leaves into small pieces. There are only two species in the United States, which are found in Arizona, Texas, western Louisiana and southern California. Mature nests of leafcutting ants may contain in excess of one million individuals, but only one queen who is long-lived. Some very old colonies may occupy the same area for 60-70 years.
The little black ant gets its common name from its very small size and black coloration. Colonies are moderate to very large and contain many queens.
The odorous house ant gets its name from the strong, rotten coconut-like smell it gives off when crushed. These tiny brown ants range in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long.
Pavement ants get their name because they make nests in or under cracks in pavement. These dark brown to black ants can also infest structures.
Pharaoh ants get their name from the mistaken belief that they were one of the plagues of Egypt during the time of Pharaohs. This species is thought to be native to Africa, but is currently found throughout the Unites States.
The pyramid ant gets its common name from the pyramid projection on top of the thorax. Mature pyramid ant colonies are usually small to moderate in size, each containing one or more queens and up to a few thousand individuals.
Red imported fire ants (RIFAs, for short) get their common name from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. These dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species found throughout the southern part of the U.S.
Thief ants get their name from their habit of nesting very near other ants, which they then rob of food and brood (larvae and pupae). Colonies tend to be smaller than those of other species, but can contain many queens and several thousand workers. Thief ants are also known as grease ants and are often confused with pharaoh ants, although they differ in characteristics.
White-footed ants get their common name from their very light-colored feet. Mature colonies can range from 8,000 to 3 million individuals, with as many as 33 percent being reproductive.
The yellow ant gets its common name from the yellow coloring of its body. Yellow ants are also referred to as citronella ants because of the citrus or lemon-like odor they give off when crushed. The most important structural pest species in this group is the larger yellow ant,Lasius interjectus, which is found from southern New England westward to Washington and southward to Florida and Mexico.