Little Black Ants

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name: Monomorium minimum

Appearance

Little black ants are small and dark-brown, black or jet black in color and are a native species found throughout the United States. The workers are 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, or the ant waist, is two-segmented. Little black ants have no spines, and their thorax is unevenly rounded.

Little Black Ants

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Although little black ants have a stinger, it is too small to be effective against most threats. Little black ants are omnivorous and will eat insects, sweets, honeydew, vegetables, greasy or oily foods, corn meals and plant secretions. Workers forage in trails and are frequently seen along sidewalks and foundation walls. Indoors, the little black ant can be located in wooden items as well as in walls and the junction between the carpet and walls.

Habitat
Little black ants (Monomorium minimum) dwell in areas of Mexico, southern Canada and United States. They are widespread in urban and industrial surroundings. Little black ant colonies can house several thousands of individuals and are located primarily in dark, protected areas.

Little black ants prefer to live outdoors in decaying wood, but will also build their nests in cracks in walls or cement. Outside, little black ants establish their nests under rocks or stones and in rotting logs, gardens and other open areas. Their nests can also be located within small craters of very fine soil. Indoors, little black ants build their nests in voids and cavities such as wall voids.

They at times can forage for food indoors. Little black ant workers forage with scent-marked trails. They feed on aphids and plant secretions, as well as sweets, greasy items, meats, fruits and vegetables.

Colonies of little black ants are moderate to large, containing two or more queens. They form mating swarms from June to August in the United States. Because little black ants can invade a home, contact a pest control professional to address an infestation.

Reproduction

Little black ant colonies have moderate to large populations, with two or more queens in one colony. Little black ant winged swarms are common from June to August, during which time mating occurs. After mating, both males and females shed their wings and the males die soon after mating. Newly established colonies grow rapidly and they build their nests in areas such as wall voids, rotting logs, cracks in cement, lawns and open areas.

Signs Of An Infestation

Signs of a little black ant infestation, include visible evidence of the ants inside the house, crawling on the bathroom or kitchen floor and cabinets in search of food or water, or ants entering a crack or gap that leads to their nest in a wall void.

More Information

The first step to prevent and control little black ants begins with a thorough inspection provided by your pest management professional. After conducting the inspection, your pest management professional will provide proactive recommendations and a plan for how to effectively and efficiently deal with the infestation. One of the first things your pest management professional will look for are ways to exclude ants like sealing cracks and gaps in exterior walls and the foundation. Also your pest management professional will provide some proactive recommendations such as removing and discarding decaying wood, firewood and other debris on the property.