Pyramid Ants

Pyramid Ant: Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name:

Dorymyrmex spp.


Pyramid ants are about 1/8-inch long and get their common name from a pyramid shaped structure located on the top of the ant’s thorax. Their head and thorax is reddish-black and the abdomen is black. 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. These ants do not have a stinger, but they will bite when they sense the need to defend themselves or their nest.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

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 and workers. 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.


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, protecting and maintaining the nest.

Signs Of An Infestation

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


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

Other Information

Since pyramid ant colonies are small and nests are formed near the soil surface, pyramid ants are one of the easier groups of ants to control. However, your pest management professional is the best person to provide effective and efficient control, plus provide effective pyramid ant prevention measures.