Types of Ants in Arkansas

Almost 80 to 90 species of ants are widely present in the temperate rainforests, and diverse landscapes of Arkansas out of 12,000 species present all over the world,

Types of ants in Arkansas include carpenter ants, red imported fire ants, false honey ants, ghost ants, odorous house ants, field ants, pharaoh ants, southern fire ants, big-headed ants, pavement ants, little black ants, argentine ants, and acrobat ants.

Most commonly, three species of ants, including carpenter, odorous, and red imported fire ants present in Arkansas and have a higher population than other species of these insects.

Ants in Arkansas Body size Distinctive characteristics Ability to sting or bite
Carpenter ants 6 to 10 mm Bigger bodies Both
Red imported fire ants 3 to 5 mm Painful or allergic stings Both
False honey ants 2.5 to 3.5 mm Swelling of bodies No
Ghost ants 1.5 to 2 mm Satellite nests Bite
Odorous house ants 1.5 to 3 mm Coconut-like odor No
Field ants 3 to 8 mm 3 ocelli on head Bite
Pharaoh ants 1.5 to 2 mm Non-functional stinger Bite  
Southern fire ants 1.5 to mm Burning stings Both
Big headed ants 2 to 4 mm Larger heads Bite
Pavement ants 2 to 3 mm Parallel ridges on head Sting
Little black ants 1.5 to 2 mm Shiny black bodies Both
Argentine ants 2 to 3 mm Stale odor, no hair Bite 
Acrobat ants 3 to 4 mm Heart-shape belly Both

Carpenter ants

Carpenter or wood ants build larger colonies based on thousands of members but possess only a single queen to raise the population. A mature ant colony comprises 20,000 to 50,000 workers.

These insects can bite or sting their prey to restrict their movement or make them die by injecting poison into their bodies or deeper into the skin tissues.

These insects are peaceful creatures and live without unnecessary biting until you do not create problems for them by interfering in their mounds or nests.

However, little black ant bites are not painful, but they can cause redness or severe pain in the case of other species having larger mandibles or jaws.

Red imported fire ants

They are 3 to 5mm long insects having distinguishing colors in reddish black or reddish brown. Their antennae have only 10 segments and possess a club with 2-segments.

Moreover, these deadly insects are aggressive and gained popularity due to their necrophobic behavior or painful stings leading to intense sensations in the affected area.

It can cause severe itching or burning on the skin tissues as their formic acid acts like a poison and form welts or blisters. These insects can cause the death of organisms by stinging them multiple times.

In addition, these omnivorous insects feed on the naturally sweet fruits and sap of the crop plant and eat worms, insects, or arthropods to consume various nutrients.

They can reach indoor areas if they find something attractive, like moisture, food, and warmth. However, it poses a risk of stings and poison injection; that’s why it needs to be kept at a distance.

You can avoid these annoying and dangerous pests by making indoor places unattractive to them, like fixing all the leaked pipes, sealing the cracks, and storing food inside tight containers.

False honey ants

False honey or small honey ants are small creatures, having only 2.5 to 3.5 mm long bodies, but they are capable of storing honey in their abdomen and attaining a bigger size.

Abdominal swelling can increase their overall weight and size as their muscles can stretch to their maximum, allowing them to become living storage vessels.

Commonly, their colonies have only 1 queen in active state or an egg-producing machine responsible for laying eggs to increase the population density within the nest.

However, the number of female reproductive members can increase up to 8 when they have to increase their population within a short time to ensure survival.

Furthermore, these brown or black insects have shiny bodies and are not considered dangerous because they lack a stinger and larger mandibles; that’s why they do not sting or bite.

They can pose a significant risk to the growth of flowering plants as they destroy buds to get nutrition from the growing regions and suck nectar from flowers.

Ghost ants

These insects are one of the common invaders in Arkansans, having 1.5 to 2mm longer bodies and milky white abdomens, but head and thorax regions are darker.

They are commonly found in wet grass, woodpiles, tree limbs or plant stems, and under stones. These prefer to eat insects or honeydew secretions when living in shrubs or outdoors.

Moreover, they can manage to get inside the building by climbing from the tree branch touching the rooftop, and feeding on sweet or greasy products after building nests behind baseboards.

They can also reach indoors to access bathrooms through drainage pipes or cracks within walls, pantries for food, and flowerpots for an alluring odor.

Furthermore, their colonies contain thousands of workers and more than one queen, but they have a shorter lifespan of a few weeks.

Odorous house ants

They cannot extend more than 3 to 4 mm in size and form larger colonies based on 500 to 10,000 members and multiple queens.

They have oval-shaped and uniformly colored black or segmented bodies. They are not known to pose any serious danger to people after infesting indoor areas as they do not sting or bite.

In addition, they can cause contamination of food particles when crawling on the kitchen countertops or visiting the open jars having sweet food like biscuits or peanut butter.

This contamination can lead to the transfer of harmful bacteria to the food or allergic reactions; that’s why they are known to be annoying or contaminating indoor pests.

Moreover, they produce an unpleasant smell after getting crushed in large numbers, as a single insect cannot produce enough odor molecules to get detected by the nose receptors.

Field ants

A small number of these ants are also found in Arkansas, having a longer lifespan and smaller bodies extending from 3 to 8mm.

Moreover, they have a variety of body colors ranging from red to black, tan, and yellow. Some of them are bicolored, having different colors on different body segments.

These insects do not sting to inject the poison but can injure the skin by pinching and spraying acid onto it. So, they are considered harmful as their bites can initiate a series of reactions.

They can build mounds in soil or open areas like lawns or a backyard that is 1 to 2 feet tall or 3 to 4 feet wide to provide plenty of space for the colony members.

Pharaoh ants

They are black or yellowish to red colored insects having straight antennae and possess a stinger for injecting formic acid into the predator or prey bodies.

Moreover, Monomorium pharaonis have smaller mouths or mandibles that cannot pierce through insect skin or are not sharp enough to make them die immediately.

Accordingly, they use stingers only to fight their enemies and are not considered harmful creatures because they do not sting frequently.

Furthermore, they can grow by budding and increase the colony size by spreading to a larger area. The grocery stores, furniture, wall voids, and humid places can have pharaoh infestations.

Southern fire ants

They are 1.5 to 5mm long insects with an amber color body. They have deadly venom in the poison gland sprayed on their prey or injected within its skin tissue when fighting for defense.

Their stings can lead to painful sensations and welts or blisters that will take several hours to disappear. It is difficult to tolerate the pain after multiple stings.

Moreover, they are commonly found in the rainforests and deserted areas of Arkansas and many other states. So you have to get rid of these dangerous pests from the house to avoid stings.

Big-headed ants

They have larger heads than any other ant species that can help fight off predators because they cannot sting. Moreover, they form larger colonies comprising 15,000 to 100,000 insects.

Major and minor workers in a colony perform varying roles according to size, as minors are 1.5 to 2mm long, but majors can extend up to 4mm.

In addition, they can build satellite colonies when colony size reaches a maximum and becomes challenging to be manage appropriately within a small space.

Their antennae have 12 segments, and a different club has 3 segments. They appear reddish-brown and extend from 2 to 4 mm in size.

Furthermore, these insects build their nests under larger stones or tiles and within damp wooden logs. As a result, they can damage grouting between tiles and destroy electrical wires.

Pavement ants

You have to be careful of these pavement ants if living in Arkansas because they can sting on exposed skin when walking in the yard or cleaning paved surfaces.

They are usually present within the narrow spaces of concrete surfaces and go through a small hole to reach under the slab. Ideally, they prefer to live in dark places and raise the population.

Their stinger is smaller in size that cannot pierce through the thick areas of skin but can penetrate the injector through thin areas.

Furthermore, these dark brown pests have antennae and a 3-segmented club. There are striations on the dorsal side of the thorax and head region, making them different from others.

Little black ants

They are pretty smaller ants with black bodies, as their name indicates, and shiny abdomens. They can easily move through narrow spaces as their bodies are only 3 to 6 mm long.

They possess 12-segmented antennae with many sensory receptors to detect chemicals and odor molecules in their surroundings. In addition, their colonies are moderate to large.

Furthermore, they can feed on fruits, meats, grease, sweets, and vegetables. It can kill prey by stinging and biting on their skin, followed by injection of formic acid into tissues.

Argentine ants

These ants are 2 to 3 mm longer insects having dark brown color and can be easily distinguished from other insects due to stale or musky odor when crushed.

They are not deadly pests but are responsible for painful bites when you move closer to their nests or try to interfere with them. However, their bites are not so painful to cause redness or swelling.

Moreover, they are prolific breeders as their colonies contain hundreds of queens and hundreds of thousands of workers to manage the survival of the new larvae and queen by collecting food.

They are known to form supercolonies and grow to a larger area by budding when newly mated queens move to a nearby location with the workers that will keep colonies connected.

Furthermore, they support the growth of aphids for honeydew and affect the growth of plants by raising the population of pests in an uncontrolled manner, when they have no risk of attack.

Accordingly, the plants can die because the sweet secretions allow sooty mold to grow that can destroy fruit or stems and foliage parts.

Acrobat ants

These ants are commonly present in Arkansas, and you can find these in trees or firewood and make deep tunnels inside the wood log. Moreover, these are territorial insects and do not tolerate the interference of any other species.

Commonly, one colony lives on a tree and prevents others from sharing their habitat, but it can also spread to more than one tree if its size becomes larger enough to accommodate one tree.

Their colonies are massive, having hundreds of thousands of members but relying only on one queen.

In addition, they are known for their fighting behavior when workers raise their abdomen over the thorax.

You can also find these black or light brown colored insects under the larger rocks. They prefer to eat the sugary waste of aphids and insects, whether live or dead, to get proteins.

Furthermore, they have a heart-shaped belly and are not equal in size from all sides because their front legs are longer than the hind legs.

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