Little Black Ants

People often describe any ant that is black in coloration as a black ant, often including certain species of carpenter ant. However there is a specific pest species called the little black ant (Monomorium minimum). They are found predominantly in southern Canada, the United States and Mexico. Nuptial flights of little black ants, which include winged males and females, occur from midsummer through autumn in North America. In some of these areas, little black ants are treated as pests.

Little black ant workers measure approximately 1.6 mm long. Queens are approximately twice this size. While they are typically black in color, some individuals may be brown. Their antennae have 12 segments that end in three-segmented clubs. Little black ants are small like pharaoh ants, though pharaoh ants are red, yellow or amber in color.

These jet-black ants are social creatures, living like other ants in colonies of queens, larvae and infertile female workers. Little black ants feed on sugary items, seeds, nectars and small insects, both living and dead. The little black ant also feeds on ripe fruits with thin protective skins, such as strawberries, and they can be a problem for gardeners.

When a little black ant colony moves into a house, their infestations can become problematic. However, most little black ants found indoors are worker ants foraging for food to bring back to their colonies. In order to keep black ants outdoors, homeowners should ensure that kitchens and other food surfaces are free from sugary foods, crumbs and other sweet substances.