Little Black Ants

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name: Monomorium minimum

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?

Little Black Ants

  • Size: Little black ants are small. The workers are as small as 1.5 mm in length, and queens can measure up to 4 mm.
  • Color: They are dark-brown, black or jet black in color.
  • Antennae: Their antennae consist of 12 segments and end in a three-segmented club.
  • Body: Their pedicel, or the ant waist, is two-segmented. Little black ants have no spines, and their thorax is unevenly rounded.

How Did I Get Little Black Ants?

Little black ants typically nest in woodwork or masonry but sometimes come indoors and they are known to nest in the soil and under yard debris. Inside the house, little black ant infestation is usually the result of improper food storage.

How Serious Are Little Black Ants?

Are They Dangerous?
Although little black ants have a stinger, it is too small to be effective against most threats.

When in need of heat or moisture, little black ants quickly move indoors. Colonies start under debris, stones, or patios outside but can soon grow to include voids in walls. Noticing the pests in homes may mean a larger infestation is at hand and located outdoors and/or inside.

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.

How Do I Get Rid of Little Black Ants?

What Orkin Does
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.


Behavior, Diet & Habits

What Do They Eat?
Little black ants are omnivorous and will eat:

  • Corn meals
  • Cotton flea hoppers
  • Greasy or oily foods
  • Honeydew
  • Insects
  • Plant secretions
  • Sweets
  • Vegetables

Geographic Range
Little black ants (Monomorium minimum) dwell in areas of Mexico, southern Canada, and United States. They are widespread in urban and industrial surroundings.

Where Do They Live?
Little black ant colonies can house several thousands of individuals and are located primarily in dark, protected areas. 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.

Nest Locations
Little black ants prefer to live outdoors in decaying wood, but will also build their nests in cracks in walls or cement. Outside, they 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, the insects build their nests in voids and cavities such as wall voids.

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.