Little black ants (Monomorium minimum) are small and dark brown, black or jet black in color. Little black ants are a native species found throughout the United States.
Worker little black ants can be as small as 1.5 mm in length, and queens can measure up to 4 mm. Their antennae consist of 12 segments and end in a three-segmented club. Their pedicel, the ant waist, is two-segmented. Little black ants have no spines, and their thorax is unevenly rounded. Although little black ants bear a stinger, it is too small to be effective against most threats. Both males and female reproductives have wings before mating season, though males die soon after mating and females shed their wings.
Little black ants are omnivorous and will eat insects, sweets, honeydew, vegetables, greasy or oily foods, corn meals and plant secretions as well. Little black ant workers forage in trails, which are frequently seen along sidewalks and foundation walls.
Little black ant colonies have moderate to large populations, with two or more queens in one colony. Little black ant swarms are common from June to August, during which time mating occurs and mated females form new colonies. Newly established colonies grow rapidly. Outside, they build nests in areas such as woodwork voids, rotting logs, cracks in cement, lawns and open areas. Indoors, the little black ant can be located in wooden items as well as in walls and the junction between the carpet and walls.
When infestation occurs, gaps and cracks in exterior walls should be sealed. It is important to remove decaying wood, firewood and other debris surrounding a home or building if an infestation is suspected. While it is difficult to see little black ants due their small size, their nests can be located by following the trail of a worker ant back to its colony. Pest control experts provide the most effective treatment of little black ant infestations.