Types of Ants in Arizona

Almost 280 to 300 species of ants are native to Arizona and are abundant types among insects in this region due to the favorable climate and diverse geography.

Types of ants in Arizona include carpenter ants, fire ants, pavement ants, acrobat ants, harvester ants, leafcutter ants, odorous house ants, crazy ants, pharaoh ants, winnow ants, argentine ants, forelius ants, honeypot ants, and citronella ants. 

Ants are considered to be common nuisance pests in many states of America, but their population density is higher in Arizona compared to other states.

Ants in Arizona Colony size Habitat Characteristic feature
Carpenter ants 50,000 to 60,000 Rotting wood Chew wood
Fire ants 100,000 to 490,000 Trees, garden Painful stings
Pavement ants 9,000 to 10,000 Driveways, sidewalks Chew concrete floor, bite
Acrobat ants 1000 to 3000 Pine trees, wood logs Damage electrical wires
Harvester ants 8,000 to 10,000 Desert, grassland Allergic bites
Leafcutter ants 7,000,000 to 8,000,000 Trees, forest floor Grow fungus on leaves
Odorous house ants 100 to 1000 Leaky pipes, pantries Smell like rotting coconut
Crazy ants 1500 to 2000 Tree cavities, attics Short circuit
Pharaoh ants 2000 to 100,000 Walls, ceilings, kitchen Contaminate food
Winnow ants 1000 to 2000 Backyard, stumps Seed dispersers
Argentine ants 300 to 2500 Mulch, concrete, walls Musty odor
Forelius ants 70,000 to 100,000 Porches, sidewalks Wiggling of antennae
Honeypot ants 100 to 150 Flowering plants Store honey in abdomen
Citronella ants 500 to 3000 Concrete slabs, sinks Citrus scents

Carpenter ants

They belong to the genus Camponotus having almost thousands of species and subspecies containing a diverse range of insects. They appear in brownish, black, or red color.

Their colonies consist of minor and major workers in addition to reproductive members, queens, and drones, which are almost 12 to 18 mm long.

They are named carpenters due to their wood-chewing property because they prefer to build tunnels and live inside damp or rotting wooden logs. They are not known for stinging but can bite.

Moreover, they prefer to eat sweet fruits or vegetables and live or dead insects to obtain carbohydrates and proteins. They are nocturnal insects and become active at night time.

You have to be careful of these insects at home because these chewing pests are responsible for structural or cosmetic damage to the building and need to be controlled.

Fire ants

Some species of these aggressive insects are also commonly present in Arizona, including desert and southern fire ants. They prefer to live in open areas, like gardens, landscapes, and trees.

They are almost 2 to 6 mm long and appear reddish-brown. They build bigger mounds as their colonies consist of thousands of members and spread on around 3 to 4 square feet area.

These insects are also seen in this region of America and build underground mounds or are found to be living inside tree trunks or earthy hills.

These are known for the painful bites and stings which can cause burning or allergic reactions on the skin that remains for a few hours.

They are omnivorous insects and prefer to feed on plant and animal-based foods. Therefore, getting rid of these insects from your garden is better to keep yourself safe from their stings and bites.

Pavement ants

Tetramorium caespitum are commonly found in outdoor areas, like gardens, driveways, sidewalks, and even walls, as they can easily sneak under the stones.

They are good at biting predators and even prey when they feel the threat in the surrounding. They are omnivores and eat various foods, from fruits to meat, nuts, or bread.

In addition, they have black bodies and are almost 2 to 3mm long, and their uniformly small size allows them to get entries through the narrow cracks and gaps to reach pantries or the kitchen.

You have to remove these nuisance pests from home to avoid their bites when you step barefooted on the lawn or close to their mounds.

Acrobat ants

They are 2 to 3 mm long and appear brown or black. These are named for their acrobatic moves, as their gaster region is highly flexible that can be raised over the thorax.

Most commonly, they prefer to live within trees, particularly pine trees, in addition to window or door frames, logs, and baseboards.

They can also reach indoors in search of food and are known to sting, but their stings are not painful, making them less harmful for pets and people.

You can identify these insects by their heart-shaped abdomen and body color. They are known to raise their abdomen when engaged in a fighting mode to become a part of the war.

Furthermore, they can bite you hard if you interfere with their colonies. They can cause structural damage or short circuits by chewing rubber insulation on wires.

Harvester ants

The Western harvester ants are efficient harvesters that can collect seeds as their diet primarily relies on consuming plant-based food or seeds.

They are longer insects and extend from 7 to 10 mm, and their colonies consist of 8000 to 10000 workers. Their colonies can survive for more than 15 to 25 years due to their bigger size.

A few of its species are present in the east of the US, while the remaining are distributed in the southwest region, including Arizona.

Grasslands or deserts are the common habitat of these insects as they usually prefer slightly dry conditions and store seeds for later use.

Moreover, you can identify them by their red-colored bodies and painful bites. They can transfer venom or toxic material through bites that can cause redness and swelling on the affected area.

Leafcutter ants

Leafcutter ants or Atta cephalotes have distinguishing behavior and spread in different regions of America where they live on the trees. They can also build nests underground on the forest floor.

Commonly, they prefer to live close to trees and choose deciduous forests and rainforests in addition to scrub forests.

These insects are 2 to 8 mm long and are known to cause noticeable damage to the plant by cutting leaves and destroying stem.

They can cut the leaf into several parts and carry the chunks back to their nests using strong jaws. They allow fungus to grow on the leaves substrate and eat fungi for nutrition.

In addition, you have to prevent these insects by using natural repellents like neem oil that can help avoid plant destruction.

Odorous house ants

These insects smell like rotten coconut and are also known as coconut ants. They are almost 1.5 to 3mm long and preferably consume honeydew by promoting the growth of aphids.

Most commonly, they live in moist areas like water pipes or leaking faucets and locate warm places like heater cavities to get warmth for reproduction.

You can also find these black or brownish insects living inside rotten wood or pantries, providing plenty of food for them.

Additionally, they are not harmful as they do not bite or sting but can contaminate the food in pantries or kitchens, so removing them using natural ways or home ingredients is essential.

Crazy ants

They are reddish brown in color and extend for almost 2 to 3mm in length. Some have grayish-black bodies and are known for their crazy or erratic movements.

These species prefer to live in the cavities of trees and move indoors when there is cold outside, as they are resistant to survive at low temperatures.

In addition, these crazy creatures feed on insects, seeds, meat, saps, and other protein or fat sources. They are highly versatile creatures and can survive in moist or dry conditions.

You do not have to bother about their bites and stings because they do not possess venom and have smaller jaws that cannot leave deep bite marks.

Moreover, they get attracted to the electricity and reach wires in the attic or outlets in the kitchen or other house rooms. They pose a significant risk of short circuits and other costly damages.

Pharaoh ants

They are one of the smallest creatures among ants as they are only 1.5 to 2 mm long. They have reddish or yellowish bodies and black abdomens.

They are efficient scavengers and feed on dead insects in addition to getting nutrition from sweet food items like candies, chocolates, biscuit crumbs, and other baked items.

Moreover, this species does not face problems in making their way indoors as their small size allows them to sneak through narrow spaces within walls and ceilings.

They built larger colonies comprising 100,000 members and contained more than queens. Similarly, they are not considered dangerous but can transfer pathogens to foods.

Winnow ants

They belong to the genus Aphaenogaster and are found to be living in Arizona or a few other regions of America. They are almost 3 to 4mm in length and appear reddish-brown.

They have longer legs, slender bodies, and lack a social stomach for keeping the food stored for later use. It means they cannot regurgitate and transfer food to other colony members.

Moreover, they prefer to eat solid food particles like sugar granules, fruit chunks, or vegetables instead of liquid foods like sugar syrup.

They are commonly present in the backyard of the house and prefer to consume dead insects than elaiosomes as seeds are the secondary option for nutrition.

Aphaenogaster picea can live in warm or even slightly cold conditions, but they need a moist and dark environment for better living.

Argentine ants

They are natural pests of ornamental plants and trees as they make efforts to reach the aphids growing on the rose plant or basil plants.

They can also be present within narrow spaces of walls, shrubs, mulch, and concrete floors in addition to wooden boards. Moreover, they have brown bodies and are 1.5 to 3 mm long.

These are not considered aggressive species as they do not prefer to bite by pinching the skin until they do not feel the threat and avoid stinging due to the lack of a stinger.

In addition, their bodies give off a musty odor after getting crushed. Their nests or mounds are closer to the ground and raise only 1 to 3 cm higher from the surface.

Furthermore, they have massive colonies comprising millions of members, including 90 to 92% of workers and 8 to 10% of queens that are almost 200 to 300 in number.

Forelius ants

They are common nuisance pests in Arizona that can attack pantries and kitchens to get food. You can also find them crawling in the driveways, porches, and sidewalks.

They have a high tolerance to warm weather and become active in the mid part of the day.

You can identify them by their orange or brown colored bodies that can reach 2.5 mm in length at maximum.

Most commonly, they get attracted to sugary foods and reach aphids or other mealybugs to get honeydew or meat. You can get rid of these ants by sealing, cracking, and removing piles of debris.

They do not sting and even avoid pinching the skin with their jaws as they have different strategies for defense. For example, these insects wiggle their antennae to keep predators away from them.

Honeypot ants

These ants are honey-loving insects and get attracted to these sweet secretions to fill their empty stomachs. They are named for their capabilities to become a living storage house.

Moreover, these insects are 4 to 6 mm long but become heavier after filling their abdomen with food, resulting in a 2 to 3 times bigger size. They appear in orange, yellow, and red colors.

It becomes difficult for them to move, so they prefer to live inside the nest until they transfer stored food to the colony.

They are not considered dangerous but destructive for leaves and flower buds because they suck nutrients from the plant’s fast-growing regions.

Citronella ants

These ants can reach 4 to 5 mm in length and produce a citrus scent after getting squashed. They are nocturnal insects and come out of their nests at night for foraging.

They have yellowish or brown-colored bodies and are commonly present around wooden logs and concrete slabs on the floor.

They can also reach bathroom walls and kitchen sinks for moisture. Acanthomyops interjectus can reach length from 3 to 5 mm.

In addition, they are known to tend aphids for honeydew or consume mealybugs for nutrition.

They are common in Arizona, and you can find their nests in lawns and gardens by looking for the soil mounds as they form piles of soil around their nests or around entry holes.

Moreover, they get entry through broken seals and gaps within windows and doors and can be controlled only by insecticidal sprays due to their feeding behavior.

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