Little Black Ant Identification & Biology

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Physical Appearance
  • The Little Black Ant worker is about 1/16th inch in length, while the queen is twice that size
  • Little Black Ants are jet-black in color
  • The Little Black Ant has a 12- segmented antenna ending in a 3-segmented club
  • The pedicel (bridge between abdomen and thorax) has 2 segments
  • The Little Black Ant has a small, weak stinger

Nesting Habits

The Little Black Ant is native to the United States and common throughout, however the heaviest populations are found in the eastern half of the country. These ants are highly adaptable when it comes to nesting, and nests are commonly found both indoors and outdoors, in a variety of climates. Little black ants prefer to make a home of decayed woods, but will also build nests in cement cracks, under stones, or in open lawns.

Feeding Habits

Little Black Ants prefer to feed on greasy and sweet materials, fruits, and vegetables like corn meal. The ants forage actively at night, and set up trail from the colony to the greatest food sources. Look for trails along the edges of walls and carpets.


Reproductive females are mainly observed during the summer months of June, July, and August. It is during this time that mating occurs and new colonies are established. Little Black Ant colonies grow very rapidly in short periods of time.

Basic Control Methods

  • Attempt to locate possible nesting sites by following trails, and eliminate possible points of entry through repair of cracks and gaps (caulk, mesh screen, etc).
  • Remove debris near the home and store firewood off the ground. This will limit the nesting of ants near your home.
  • Baiting is the most effective form of control for Little Black Ants. Try using a sweet-based bait first, such as Advance Liquid Ant Bait or Maxforce Ant Bait Gel. If the ants do not seem to be taking the bait, switch to a protein-based bait such as Advance 375A Select Granular.

For more detailed information on Little Black Ant prevention and control, see How To Get Rid of Little Black Ants


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