Pyramid Ants

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Dorymyrmex spp.


What Do They Look Like?
  • Body: Common name comes from a pyramid shaped structure located on the top of the ant’s thorax.
  • Color: Their head and thorax is reddish-black and the abdomen is black.
  • Size: About 1/8-inch long.
  • Characteristics: Pyramid ants have a gland at the tip of their abdomen that produces an odor when the ant is smashed that smells like rotten coconut.

How Did I Get Pyramid Ants?

These reddish-black small ants prefer a warm, dry climate and sandy soil to construct their nests. As such, pyramid ants thrive in southern states.

The pests feed on other insects as well as honeydew produced by aphids. The pyramid ant has a fondness for sweets and may wander indoors to seek out sugar and sugar-based foods that are left out for them to access. Fortunately, they do not nest in homes.

How Serious Are Pyramid Ants?

Since pyramid ants eat invasive, aggressive fire ants, some people consider them beneficial. However, a large population may mean that more dangerous ants live nearby as well. In addition, pyramid ants create unsightly, cone-shaped mounds in open sunlit areas that can ruin landscaping and make lawn care difficult. While pyramid ants can bite, they are not aggressive biters.

Signs of Infestation

Evidence of both dead and living ants, plus the volcano-shaped nest are signs of an infestation.

How Do I Get Rid of Pyramid Ants?

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage pyramid ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep pyramid ants in their place…out of your home, or business.

Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?

Preferred foods include insects and honeydew produced by aphids and scale insects. While pyramid ants generally do not build nests inside, they may be seen foraging inside homes for sweets needed in their diet.

Geographic Range

While pyramid ants are found throughout the United States, they are the most plentiful in the southern states.

Where Do They Live?

Pyramid ants prefer to build their nests in dry, sandy soil in open areas. While lawns are often infested, pyramid ants sometimes also nest under objects on the ground. Their nests have a visible volcano-shaped mound around the nest entrance that is constructed by the workers within the nest.


Nests are small and house as little as a few hundred ants, while some nest populations can reach up to a few thousand. Each nest has three classes of ants:

  • Males
  • Queens
  • Workers

Mating flights of winged male and female reproductives swarm and mate in the summer months to form new colonies. As with most ant species, the mated queen sheds her wings and locates a suitable habitat to build the new nest. The queen lays eggs inside the nest and cares for the emergent ant grubs and cocoons until they become adults. These first generation adults are typically workers that will help the queen care for the subsequent generations by collecting and bringing food back to the nest and by protecting and maintaining the nest.