Many species of tiny house ants found in the United States can infest your personal space. If you spot some small ants crawling around your kitchen floors or the walls outside, chances are you’re dealing with one of these species.
Worker and queen acrobat ants don’t grow much longer than 0.13 inches. This species is identifiable by its unique heart-shaped abdomen.
These ants are light or reddish-brown, except for the characteristic black abdomen. They’re found throughout the United States, though you won’t see any mounds in your yard. Instead, they seek out rocks, leaves, and debris for shelter. They may also enter your home and build colonies in tunnels that other ants or termites have created in your walls.
Image via Flickr by Starr Environmental
Despite the name, these ants are a small species. The workers only grow up to roughly 0.063 inches long, though the seed crackers — those for which the species has earned its title — can grow up to 0.13 inches long. Big-headed ants are found throughout the United States. They prefer the same type of shelter that acrobat ants do and may thrive in your home’s foundation or under the floorboards. They eat insects, seeds, and any food they can find in your home.
Caribbean crazy ants grow up to 0.13 inches long and are known for building massive colonies with multiple queens. An infestation could easily lead to hundreds of thousands of ants. You can identify Caribbean crazy ants by their golden color. They’re most commonly found in Florida and Texas, and build their nests under rocks or wood or in the walls of a building.
This species of ant is found throughout the United States. They’re distinguishable from Caribbean crazy ants by their darker color and erratic movements. They tend to keep their colonies further away from food sources, so you may see a swarm heading back and forth from their nest to whatever they’re foraging. This species only grows up to 0.1 inches long.
Ghost ants are another one-size species that doesn’t get much longer than 0.063 inches. You can identify ghost ants by their opaque appearance. These ants are most commonly found in Florida and Hawaii and can be introduced to other areas through the import of plants and other goods from these states. They won’t hesitate to build colonies in walls and cabinets when they find food inside. In the wild, they prefer the shelter of stones, logs, and plants.
Carpenter, pharaoh, odorous, and sugar ants are easily confused with this species due to their dark color. Unlike these other insects, however, little black ants are black all over without any red or brown coloration. They’re also very small and don’t grow longer than 0.063 inches.
Little black ants are found throughout the United States. You’re most likely to discover nests behind walls or in decaying wood. They prefer dark places, so you can discourage colonies from developing by removing debris from around your property and raking leaves in the fall.
Odorous ants are named for the rotten smell they produce when squished. If you prefer a more fragrant method for identifying this species, check whether they have a dark brown or black color all over with lighter legs and antennae. This species is found throughout the United States and is one of many species that tends aphids. If you have a garden and want to avoid attracting odorous ants, make the space less appealing for aphids.
Pharaoh ants are a small species that grows about 0.063 inches long. They have a yellowish color on their head and body with a red or brown abdomen. This is another multi-queen species that can build massive colonies.
Pharaoh ants are found throughout the United States. However, since they love warmth and humidity, you’re more likely to find them in the South or thriving seasonally. In the North, they’re a pest known for invading buildings in search of food and warmth.
It’s easy to confuse rover ants with little black ants. Both grow about 0.063 inches long, and the rover ants’ dark color makes them hard to correctly identify. This species is more common in the South and will head indoors for moisture and warmth. They’ll also nest in decaying wood, so it’s important not to leave debris in your yard if you don’t want a rover ant problem.
Sugar ants are another species that’s commonly mislabeled. Just because you see ants celebrating a spill of sugar or some sweet liquid doesn’t mean you have sugar ants. This species grows roughly 0.6 inches long and is native to Australia. However, they’ve been introduced to North America and love visiting homes throughout the United States. To identify female sugar ants, look for a dark brown or red body with an orange-black middle. The males are completely black.
Thief ants are found throughout the United States. They come in one size and grow to be about 0.063 inches long. You can identify this species by its light brown or yellow body. They’re known for building nests near other ant colonies and prefer to steal food from their neighbors rather than foraging. They don’t cherish sweets as much as the other tiny house ants you’re likely to find around your property.
Get Rid of the Small Ants in Your Home
If ants have invited themselves into your home, it’s because they want food, water, and shelter. Take away these things to keep them from wanting to come inside. This may sound easier said than done, but it’s manageable if you’re careful about cleaning up spills and sealing food. You can also do things like applying a spritz of vinegar and water around entry points to deter ants or laying out a mix of boric acid and cornmeal to kill them.
Prevention is by far the best solution when it comes to ridding your home of insect invaders. Research all-natural methods for killing tiny house ants using household products, and work with a pest specialist if needed to safeguard your property or resolve an infestation.