Types of Ants in Hawaii

There are no native ants in Hawaii and Antarctica, but a few people have introduced them on the islands as these insects cannot swim to reach there.

Types of ants in Hawaii are tropical fire ants, ghost ants, little fire ants, yellow crazy ants, pharaoh ants, guinea ants, white-footed ants, rover ants, navigating big-headed ants, slender twig ants, little yellow ants, Hawaiian carpenter ants, crazy ants, black household ants, argentine ants, and flower ants. 

Almost 55 to 60 non-native species of ants are present in Hawaii, in which a few invasive species are also included, like tropical fire ants and little fire ants.

Ants in Hawaii Body size Number of nodes Habitat
Tropical fire ants 3 to 5 mm 2 Planted and natural forests
Ghost ants 1 to 1.5 mm 1 Rotten wood, leaf litter, door cracks
Little fire ants 1.5 to 2 mm 2 Electrical boxes, potted plants
Yellow crazy ants 2.5 to 5 mm 1 Agroforestry, rainforests
Pharaoh ants 1.5 to 2 mm 2 Grocery stores, pantries, baseboards
Guinea ants 3.5 to 4.3 mm 1 Grasslands, wetlands
White-footed ants 2 to 3 mm 1 Decaying trees, termite galleries
Rover ant 1.5 to 3 mm 1 Potted plants, wall voids
Big headed ants 2 to 4 mm 2 Trash piles, rotting wood
Slender twig ants 7 to 10 mm 2 Dead twigs, plant stalks
Little yellow ants 1.3 to 1.5 mm 1 Wooden logs, patios, concrete slabs
Hawaiian carpenter ant 5 to 12 mm 2 Tree stumps, rotting wood
Black household ants 3 to 4.5 mm 1 Deadwood, stones, brick piles
Argentine ants 2.5 to 3.3 mm 1 Under boards, beneath plants, pipes
Flower ants 2.6 to 3.4 mm 2 Hollow twigs, open land

Tropical fire ants

Solenopsis geminate is a common species in Hawaii that looks like other fire ants. It is 2 to 5 mm long and appears red. These have square-shaped heads and two nodes in the body.

Commonly, it is present in coastal areas and creates underground nests in the soil surfaces. They have occupied mostly shaded areas in forests of this island and spread throughout this region.

These possess a large stinger at the end of their abdomen used to kill any organism by stinging. They can kill seabirds, hatchling turtles, eggs, etc., and are proven to be destructive to crops.

Furthermore, these are aggressive in nature and known for painful stings resulting in itchy bumps and blisters that usually last for a few days.

Ghost ants

Tapinoma melanocephalum is a small-sized ant ranging between 1 and 1.5 mm in size, with only one node in the body.

They build nests in humid places and are usually found near rotten wood. Moreover, they can live and multiplicate within a plant leaf litter and cavities.

Some potted plants, curtain rods close to showers, and even bread boxes can also become their home.

This species is not considered harmful or destructive due to the lack of stinger, but they can contaminate places and food, so these insects have to be kept away from buildings.

You have to suffer from their bites badly as it is a primary defensive strategy of these tiny creatures against the threat.

Little fire ants

Wasmannia auropunctata are non-native species of ants in Hawaii that are present in large numbers. You can differentiate them by uniform bodies and yellowish-red color.

They are 1.5 to 2 mm long or equal in size to a sesame seed. Moreover, they can sting and kill their prey and quickly move through plants and leaves.

Unlike other fellows, who primarily live under the soil, these insects build nests in the potted plants, trees, and electrical boxes.

Furthermore, it is one of the invasive species on this island that is difficult to control. Therefore, it has got several other names, like a cocoa tree or electric ants.

Yellow crazy ants

Anoplolepis gracilipes are notorious species of insects due to their invasive behavior and pose a significant risk to their properties. They are not good at biting and stinging but can spray poison.

They are known to form massive supercolonies comprising millions of ants and multiple queens. Their colonies are interconnected as workers keep moving between the two colonies.

In addition, these insects have skinny legs, one mode, and a range in size between 2.5 to 5 mm. They have golden-brown bodies, but the abdominal area is dark brown.

They prefer shady and moist areas to build their nests, like rock walls, tree bases, pot plants, and even electrical appliances. You can find them running erratically after disturbing their nests.

Pharaoh ants

They are known as one of the prominent indoor pests that are smaller in size and possess two nodes in their petioles. They have pincers-like jaws and pinch skin with full force to leave marks.

You do not have to face any allergic reactions from their bites as they do not have poisonous bites, but you have to suffer for a few hours as their bites are painful.

These ants commonly invade grocery stores, pantries, and baseboards to reach the food source as they are primarily attracted to sweet food items like honey, biscuit crumbs, and cakes.

Guinea or tramp ants

Tetramorium bicarinatum are tiny creatures commonly present in the wetlands and grasslands of Hawaii and are diurnal insects.

They are 3 to 4.5 mm long insects with antennae and mandibles. Its antennae are long and divided into 12 separate segments.

Their bodies appear in light yellowish brown color, while the gaster has bright orange with a light yellowish texture.

You can find these insects crawling along driveways, sidewalks, and flower beds. They prefer to eat mealy bugs and aphids and reach plants to consume honeydew secretions.

White-footed ants

Technomyrmex albipes is a 2 to 3-mm long insect having a brownish-black body and whitish or yellow-colored feet. These have one node on the waist and a five-segmented waist.

They lack a distinct stinger, meaning these insects rely on their mandibles for defense and contain a few erect hair on the body.

In addition, they live under loose rocks, tree branches, and termite galleries, as decaying wood attracts these insects to live inside narrow tunnels.

These can also enter the house in search of warmth and moisture and build their nests within wall voids and attics in addition to bathrooms and kitchens.

Rover ant

Brachymyrmex obscurior are known to build close relations with mealy bugs and aphids producing honeydew as they need sweet secretions for nutrition.

These insects prefer to live in the roots of potted plants loaded with aphids like insects or get attracted to rotting wood. Some of them build deep tunnels in the soil to ensure colony survival.

The workers are 1.5 to 2 mm long, and the queens can extend from 2 to 3 mm. Moreover, these appear in dark brown or black color.

They lack a stinging organ, and their petiole has only one node that is not visible clearly. They get attracted to sweet food items and dead insects that are a rich source of protein for them.

Big-headed ants

Pheidole navigans or Pheidole megacephala are ants’ species that are present in Hawaii and are named so for their bigger heads. Trash piles, rotting wood, and stumps can have these insects.

They have two nodes and are 2 to 4 mm long, appearing reddish-brown. You can find them enjoying a feast on dead or decaying plant parts like stems, leaves, dead insects, or sweet food.

These can get inside the building to seek moisture and warmth in addition to food, look for tiny cracks and holes in the windows or walls, and climb through trees to the roof or window sill.

Slender twig ants

Pseudomyrmex gracilis have elongated bodies and possess well-developed stingers, making them deadly as they are responsible for long-lasting stings.

In addition, these insects have larger eyes, erect hair, and a divided waist due to the presence of two nodes giving a distinctive appearance. They appear in brown, black, or orange-brown color.

It is commonly found within the hollow cavities of the plant and chooses smaller branches of the plant and dead twigs to create the nest inside.

In addition, they are named for their slender or thin bodies having two nodes and extending from 7 to 10 mm in length.

Little yellow ants

Plagiolepis alluadi is usually found in gardens and patios as these insects choose moist soil to reproduce and live by constructing intricate channels and small chambers.

These are small creatures having 1.5 to 2 mm body length and pale yellow colored bodies with a lighter shade of orange color. They possess long antennae-like structures with sensory receptors.

They are not easy to detect due to their smaller size when crawling individually, but they can turn into massive colonies during mating season.

Hawaiian carpenter ant

Camponotus variegatus are primarily found outside buildings and build their nests within wooden logs present in backyards or gardens. It can destroy wood and is known to be a potent destroyer.

They are 5 to 12 mm long insects with two abdomen nodes. In addition, it prefers to live within tree stumps or rotting wood. It is among the largest species of ants living in Hawaii.

Moreover, they have yellowish-brown bodies and prominent brown stripes on their abdomen. This diurnal insect belongs to Hymenoptera and remains active in the daytime only.

Black household ants

Ochetellus glaber are known to be the common species of ants indoors as they form nests indoors. Their infestations raise concerns about food contamination, as they do not sting or bite.

They appear in dark brown to black and range in size between 3 and 4.5 mm. These are nocturnal insects and seem to work all day by remaining busy building a nest all day.

Queens have longer bodies and possess two wings-like structures that can help them fly higher for a nuptial flight and mate with the drones.

They can locate and collect food after going out foraging day and night. In addition, you can find them living inside stones, deadwood, and brick piles.

Argentine ants

Linepithema humile is native to north Argentine and southern Brazil but is also found in Hawaii. These insects are 2 to 3 mm long, appear dark brown, and do not possess stinger or wings.

They are not considered dangerous pests but are responsible for food contamination. One of the distinctive features of these insects is the production of a musty odor after getting crushed.

Furthermore, they feed on dead animals and create dense trails while going foraging. They can become a problem for the local people due to their behavior of displacing other insects.

Flower or bicolored trailing ants

Monomorium floricola, or bicolored trailing insects, range in size between 2.6 to 3.4 mm and possess two nodes in their abdomen.

They prefer to live inside hollow twigs and build nests in open land. These appear light brown and have 4 teeth on their mandibles. Its waist is divided into 2 segments having long erect setae.

In addition, it is widely present in many regions of the world and is known to be a pest for buildings and crops. It predates the eggs of insects and reduces their population.

Related Articles:

Types of ants in Georgia

List of ants in Idaho