Types of Ants in Florida

Almost 16 to 20 different types of ants are commonly found in Florida, including native and non-native species of insects.

Types of ants in Florida include African bigheaded ants, ghost ants, rough node snapping ants, Florida carpenter ants, little yellow ants, red imported ants, obscure rover ants, Florida trap-jaw ants, Buren’s pyramid ants, pavement ants, graceful twig ants, longhorn crazy ants, dark rover ants, Florida harvester ants, six-spotted carpenter ants, and chestnut carpenter ants.

A variety of insects adapt to the environmental conditions of this state.

Ants in Florida Distinctive features Behavior
African bigheaded ants Larger heads Diurnal
Ghost ants Bicolored bodies Diurnal
Rough node snapping ants Bigger or sharp mandibles Nocturnal
Florida carpenter ants Spray formic acid Nocturnal
Little yellow ants Lemon-like odor Nocturnal
Red imported ants Incurved jaws Diurnal
Obscure rover ants 9-segmented antennae Nocturnal
Florida trap jaw ants Ability to jump using jaws Diurnal
Buren’s pyramid ants Pyramid-like anthills Nocturnal
Pavement ants Parallel grooves on head and thorax Nocturnal
Graceful twig ants Wasp like appearance Nocturnal
Longhorn crazy ants Random movement patterns Nocturnal
Dark rover ants Establish satellite colonies Nocturnal
Florida harvester ants Seed collecting habit Diurnal
Six-spotted carpenter ants Different body color Nocturnal
Chestnut carpenter ants Loud rustling sound Nocturnal

African bigheaded ants

This species of ants are known for bigger heads that are equal to almost 1 to 1.5 mm, and their body size is around 3 to 4 mm and is commonly found in South Florida.

These insects are least aggressive by nature and are included in the list of invasive pests creating problems that need to be controlled.

Moreover, they are diurnal insects commonly seen foraging for food in the daytime and prefer to remain inside the nest at night.

Ghost ants

These insects can reach almost 1 to 1.5 mm body length and have bicolored bodies. They are also diurnal insects and remain active during the daytime while go inside the nest at night.

They can also become indoor pests and, enter bathroom sinks, shower drains, and even get attracted to kitchen cabinets in search of food and moisture.

In addition, they are also known to reach the greenhouses and create problems for plants after the invasion. These insects are commonly found in the regions of Orlando and Gainesville.

Rough node snapping ants

Odontomachus ruginodis are not widely present in this state, and a small number of these insects are known to occupy the sub-tropical and tropical regions.

These insects are 3 to 5 mm long and build smaller colonies comprising 500 to 1000 members only. However, they are known to be fierce predators due to their larger jaws used to capture prey.

It takes only a few microseconds to snap the jaws and capture the prey within the mouth without giving any margin to escape.

Florida carpenter ants

Many of these insects are spread across the state and attracted to excavated wooden structures for hiding and reproducing.

People belonging to Tampa Bay and Orlando have to face this type of annoying pests inside their homes. In addition, a few colonies of these ash-brownish insects are also present in Miami.

You do not have to worry about these tiny creatures as they are not destructive like other carpenter ants due to their less aggressive nature.

Little yellow ants

It is hard to detect the little creatures with pale yellow bodies that can become visible when living in a large colony. It is a 1.5 to 2 mm long insect seen primarily in Florida in 2017.

Moreover, it can displace the native species around their nests and attack other ants to dominate the territory and enjoy food resources. Commonly, they build nests in the open lands or backyards.

These are nocturnal ants that can perform day and night by working in shifts. They fly higher in the sky to mate during summer in the month of June and July when conditions are humid.

Red imported ants

This species of ants entered the South American region in the 19th century and became one of the aggressive and dangerous species there.

These have red-colored bodes with black regions and possess elbowed antennae and teeth that are used for digging the soil and carrying prey or food particles.

In addition, they have a larger head and a stinger at the end that can help fight predators when they have to protect food resources and territory.

Obscure rover ants

It is named Brachymyrmex obscurior and has yellow or blackish bodies. These are nocturnal insects that prefer to navigate in the dark and collect food far away from their nests.

Worker ants are much smaller and reach 0.5 to 1 mm long at maximum, while the reproductive males and females are around 1.5 to 4 mm long.

It is a smaller pest commonly found indoors and possesses antennae divided into 9 segments which helps them differentiate molecules by detecting their chemical nature and odor.

Florida trap-jaw ants

You can identify Odontomachus brunneus by larger mandibles and hairless shiny bodies appearing in dark color. These are known to be urban pests and are found in Southern Florida.

Moreover, they have venomous stings like other trap-jaw ants and are responsible for painful bites. Their jaws are strong enough to make them jump in the air when they forcefully hit hard surfaces.

These insects usually remain active in the daytime and hide inside their nest when the sun sets, and darkness prevails in the surrounding areas.

Buren’s pyramid ants

They are named like this because they remove soil from the ground while digging deep into the surface, and excavated soil looks like a pyramid.

Additionally, they have projections in the central region of their bodies, which look like a pyramid in addition to volcano-like mounds.

These insects do not pose any structural threat to the building because they prefer to live on the soil surface or under the ground. However, food or water resources can attract these pests indoors.

You can find this type of ant in sandy soil that is not highly wet, and a few of their colonies are also found in the open woodlands.

Pavement ants

These are nocturnal insects that can forage at night to avoid exposure to hot rays of sun in the day but can come out when the weather is favorable for foraging activities.

They are commonly present in outdoor areas, but their trails are also seen in the kitchen and bathroom when they seek moisture.

Furthermore, they are a permanent nuisance and difficult to be avoided from getting inside the house because their smaller bodies help reach indoors by passing through small cracks or pipes.

Graceful twig ants

Pseudomyrmex gracilis have slender and longer bodies extending from 7 to 10 mm in length. Their movement is similar to wasps; slender bodies or bigger eyes make them look alike.

Most commonly, you can find them living on the acacia trees or some other specific areas within Florida, and they visit indoor areas rarely. They can bite hard and cause painful stings.

It is an arboreal insect that lives in hollow branches having larger diameter stems and dead twigs and is introduced in this state as exotic species.

Longhorn crazy ants

These are one of the common ants recorded in Florida as they adapted themselves to survive in the dry and humid conditions and reach indoor areas for foraging or shelter purposes.

These crazy creatures prefer to eat sweet food items and make efforts to reach uncovered food on the kitchen countertop. A trash bin filled with food leftovers can also attract these insects.

Moreover, they need protein-rich food in their mating season to nourish new larvae and queens to help them grow and reproduce.

Dark rover ants

A small number of rover ants are widely distributed in the South American region. They form small colonies based on a few hundred or thousand members but can turn into massive ones.

They are known to tend the honeydew-producing insects like aphids to consume the sweet secretions for nutrition. In addition, they prefer to eat plant parts and suck sap from the stem region.

Moreover, there is no hair on the legs, but other body parts are covered in fine hair-like structures with white color. They are common indoor pests due to the attraction for moisture in bathrooms.

Florida harvester ants

Pogonomyrmex badius can be identified by long hair and rusty red bodies. They prefer woodlands and open areas to live in and rarely get inside buildings.

These insects primarily rely on the seeds like ragweed for nutrition and spend most of their lives collecting seeds and strong them inside deep chambers of the nest.

Additionally, they can pick or remove the seeds from the plant if they do not find plenty of seeds on the ground. As a result, these seed-harvesting insects create their mounds in deserts and grasslands.

Six-spotted carpenter ants

Camponotus sexguttatus is not included in a list of species native to this state, but they were brought into different regions, and currently found in St. Lucie, Glades, and Brevard.

Moreover, it is called six-spotted for a body with different shades of brown and yellow, ranging between light and dark.

These nocturnal insects have bigger abdomens and go out for foraging in the daytime and night. These colonies remain active 24/7, and the members keep busy with activities.

Their population is found within grass culms, barks, twigs, and dead vines. Their colonies have major and minor insects in addition to reproductive males and females.

Chestnut carpenter ants

They are nocturnal insects that are not commonly seen foraging in the daytime during hot weather and leave their nests at night when the temperature is slightly lower.

It belongs to the Formicideae family and appears in red or honey-golden color with some spots of orange close to the legs and also visible on their bodies.

The workers can grow to almost 5 to 7 mm, but males and queens can extend between 10 and 14 mm.

Most commonly, it is found at the base region of an American beech tree and builds colonies of moderate size regulated by queens and grown by workers.

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