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25 Different Types of Ants and How to Identify Them

Ant Identifier

Easily identify an ant by giving the identifier some information.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Ants x
5 Things You Didn't Know About Ants

Ants are one of the world’s most diverse types of insects.

There is a whole range of different types, from the small and docile black garden ant to the large fierce-looking red fire ant.

Ants can be found in almost every environment on earth, except for polar regions. They fill many important roles in ecosystems, such as keeping other types of animals out and providing pollination.

There are more than 12,000 species of ants found on the planet today (with an ant population of 10 quintillion ants). About 700 of these can be found in the U.S., but only 25 make the habit of invading your home.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the most common.

Different types of ants and their characteristics

Here are the types of ants we’ll cover in this article:

  • Fire ants
  • Bullet ants
  • Leafcutter ants
  • Driver Ants
  • Harvester ants
  • Dracula ants
  • Army ants
  • Carpenter ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Little Black ants
  • Odorous ants
  • Pharaoh ants
  • Pavement ants
  • Ghost ants
  • Argentine ants
  • White-footed ants
  • Thief ants
  • Field ants
  • Acrobat ants
  • Big-headed ants
  • Honey ants
  • Red ants
  • Tiger ants
  • Turtle ant

1. Fire ants

These types are found in many parts of the world and their sting is painful, although not fatal. They usually nest near houses or other buildings and can be problematic to eradicate because they will aggressively protect their colony with a powerful sting.

fire ants

2. Bullet Ants

This type has one of the most potent stings out there for an ant – hiding from them isn’t going to help much! It’s recommended that you wear gloves when handling these types so as to avoid getting bitten at all costs. The bite itself is said to feel like being shot by a gun, hence why they got this name!

bullet ant

3. Leafcutter ants

Unlike any other types mentioned here, leafcutters have no interest whatsoever in biting humans. These types will cut leaves and other vegetation to create their nests; in fact, they are the only types of ants where the males do not have a sting!

leafcutter ant

4. Driver Ants

Driver ants are known for being particularly aggressive. They’re typically found around areas with lots of standing water as this is what attracts them – if you see these types outside your home it’s crucial that you act quickly because they’ll infiltrate inside really fast. It’s advised to call an exterminator right away, but if you can’t wait then try spraying some insecticide down on top of them while wearing long sleeves so that no part of your skin is exposed. One final note about driver ants: unlike most ant species they don’t produce queens or new colonies!

driver ant dorylus

5. Harvester ants

These types are known for being particularly large and aggressive. The colonies of these types can be vast, with as many as 20 million individuals in some cases. They’ll steal seeds from plants to feed their colony – if you’re growing a garden don’t underestimate them!

harvester ant

6. Dracula ants

These types are so unusual that it’s hard to find information on them. They’re known for being nocturnal and even hiding up in trees during the day! One thing we do know is that they have a very strong and painful sting, so be careful if you come into contact with these types of ants!

dracula ant
Image from antwiki.org

7. Army ants

This species of ant is notorious for its aggressive behavior, moving quickly and attacking anything they see as prey. Don’t underestimate these types just because they don’t sting humans – army ants can actually be very dangerous.

army ants

8. Carpenter ants

These types usually nest in wood and are likely to spread through your home if you don’t take care of them. They’re most commonly found outdoors but can get inside too – they’ll chew any wooden material apart with their powerful jaws!

Learn how to get rid of carpenter ants.

carpenter ant

9. Crazy ants

This type is more common in the southern states of America, but they have been found around other parts of the world too. Unlike any types mentioned here, crazy ants will invade kitchens because it’s a warm place that could shelter new colonies from outside conditions…they also appear during summer months, unlike many types which prefer cooler climates.

crazy ant

10. Little Black Ants

As might be expected these types aren’t very big at all and actually look quite different than other types. Like other types they produce queens and colonies, but these types like to live in small groups of around twenty or so individuals. They nest under leaves near the ground…

black ant

11. Odorous ants

This type is most commonly found in gardens because it’s attracted by plants that have no scent! You’ll notice them coming out between blades of grass or climbing up walls – if you see this type outside your house then act quickly as they can be difficult to get rid of once inside. If you’re a gardener use plenty of pesticides when tending to your garden and store any food indoors to avoid attracting them!

odorous house ant
Image from Brian Gratwicke via Wikimedia Commons

12. Pharaoh ants

These types are typically known for being more docile than wilder types (except crazy ants). They’re most commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms, as these types like areas with lots of food. If you do encounter pharaoh ants it’s advisable to wear gloves when handling them.

pharaoh ant (1)

13. Pavement ants

This type is very common in the southern states of America, but they have been found around other parts of the world too. Unlike any types mentioned here pavement ants spread by laying eggs near nests or along trails instead; while this doesn’t seem so bad at first glance it does mean that these types are hard to get rid of if they come inside your house because there could be a nest anywhere!

One final note about pavement ants: unlike many types which prefer cooler climates this one likes hot weather – meaning that during summer months you might see more than usual.

pavement ant

14. Ghost ants

These types are also called sugar ants and are usually found in the southern states of America. Unlike any types mentioned here, ghost ant colonies can grow to be as many as one million individuals strong!

ghost ant
Image from AntWeb.org

15. Argentine ants

Argentine ants are types of insects that like to live in large colonies. These types is usually found outside and prefer cooler climates, but they can sometimes be seen indoors too – typically when the weather’s hot! Argentine ant colonies might have as many as one million individuals at any given time, with each individual performing a different role.

argentine ant

16. White-footed ants

This type is most commonly found on the western side of North America and is also common in parts of Asia. Unlike any types mentioned here, white-footed ants prefer to nest outdoors but will sometimes enter buildings too – if you see these types then it might be best to get rid of them because they can become a problem!

whitefooted ant

17. Thief ants

These types are a type of ants that have been found in America and Mexico. These types can be identified by the fact that they’re usually seen on dead insects outside, or “stealing” from other types like crazy ants!

thief ant

18. Field ants

Field ants are types that you’ll typically find in America and prefer to live outdoors. These types will usually create a nest close to the ground then build tunnels up into it;  they can be identified by their very large mandibles (jaws) which open wide like pincers!

field ant

19. Acrobat ants

Acrobat ants are types of insects that like to live in very large colonies. Acrobat ants have been found all over the world, and can be identified by their ability to jump a long way! These types will usually build up their nests close to trees or other tall plants then use silk from the leaves they eat as part of its construction.

These types are very peculiar types of ants that live in the southern United States. Unlike any types mentioned here these types can be identified by their large mandibles and strange walking behavior – they walk on six legs instead!

acrobat-ants

20. Big-headed ants

Big-headed ants are types of insects that like to live in colonies and prefer warmer climates. These types can be identified by the fact that they have a very large head, which is around three times as long as their other body parts combined! Big-headed ants usually build up nests close to trees or tall plants then use silk from leaves as part of their construction.

bigheaded ant

21. Honey ants

These types are types of ants that live in colonies and usually build up nests close to trees.

Honey ants have been found all over the world, but they’re most commonly found in Australia where they nest by digging into bark or soil then building a “tent” made with silk from tree leaves around it; these types can be identified by their yellow and black color.

Read more about honey ants.

honey-pot-ants-768x547

22. Red ants

These types are types of ants that live in colonies and usually build up nests close to trees; they can be identified by the fact that their thorax (middle section) is red! Red ant species have been found all over the world, but they’re most commonly found in America where some will nest inside

red ants

23. Tiger ants

These types are types of ants that live in colonies and usually build up nests close to trees. Like other types mentioned here, tiger ant species have been found all over the world but they’re most commonly found on the eastern coast of America and prefer warmer climates; these types can be identified by their reddish-orange color which turns black at night!

tiger ant

24. Turtle ant

Turtle ants are types of insects that like to live in colonies and prefer warmer climates. Turtle ants can be identified by the fact that they have a very large head which is around three times as long as their other body parts combined! These types usually build nests close to trees or tall plants then use silk from leaves as part of their construction.

Cephalotes turtle ant

25. Velvety Tree Ants

Velvety tree ants are, like carpenter ants, a wood-infesting ant species. They nest in weakened trees, where they’ll dig out tunnels for the colony to live in.

They don’t eat wood, but simply excavate it to make room for eggs, food, and themselves.

Read more about velvety tree ants.

velvety tree ant
Linepithema apiculatum by Alex Wild Photography

How do I identify an ant?

The body of an ant is split up into three sections: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The types of ants that you’ll see are all different; some types have a very large head while others might only be as big as the other body parts combined!

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do they look oval or elliptical?
  • Is it on its hind legs like an ant-eater?
  • Is it walking around in search of food (scout ants)?
  • Also, take note of the size: small types like crazy ants aren’t very large while others might be about as big as your thumb or larger (like pavement ants).
  • Then check for legs – do they have six? Eight? More?

There are many types of ants and it can be difficult to identify them. The first thing to identify is, whether it’s an indoor and or an outdoor ant. If you see one outside then there’s a slim chance that it could have come from inside, but if you spot an ant indoors then you know for sure!

Finally, use caution when handling any types seen inside because some types bite and won’t let go until the blood has been drawn out.

What kind of ants comes into your house?

At any given time you might see one of five types in your house:

  • Carpenter ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Little black ants
  • Odorous ants
  • Pharaoh ants

What do these types have in common? All types like to nest indoors and are known for being highly invasive.

Carpenter ant nests can be found nearly anywhere indoors: in walls, under floorboards, or even behind sinks! Crazy ants are also known for being quite invasive and will invade kitchens because it’s a warm place that could shelter new colonies from outside conditions.

Little black ants look different than other types but produce queens and colonies just like them; though these types prefer to live in small groups of around twenty individuals they can be found nesting near the ground… Meanwhile odorous types are drawn by plants with no scent so if you see this type coming out between blades of grass then act quickly as they’re difficult to get rid of once inside.

If you have a garden use plenty of pesticides when tending to your plants, store any food indoors before attracting them – and wear gloves when handling ghost ants too.

The types of ants that are the most invasive types in any given region are also what make them the best types to study. By learning as much about these types we can learn more about how they behave and then we could better understand how to get rid of them too!

What kind of ants live in your garden?

There are types of ants that live in gardens all around the world. In some regions, garden varieties include types like

  • leaf-cutter ants
  • carpenter types
  • fungus types
  • crazy ants
  • odorous types
  • pharaoh types

Garden ants are types that live in gardens and sometimes make their homes inside of plants. You can spot types like these by looking for damage to leaves or plant stems, as the ants will often cut them to make a home!

What are the most dangerous types of ants?

Different types of ants can be dangerous in different ways.

Some types like to live in large colonies, meaning that if you see them entering your home then it’s best to act quickly as they might become a problem!

Crazy types are also known for being invasive and will invade kitchens because the warmth makes great conditions for new colonies – so act fast when these types come into contact with any food surfaces.

Also read: 13 Most Dangerous Ants in the World

Bullet ants are very dangerous types of ants. This type lives in South America and is known for having the most painful sting ever – so if you see these types then beware!

The fire ant bite will also sting a bit,  but are not as dangerous types to be concerned about.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many types of ants are there?

There are around 12,000 types of ants all over the world.

How do I identify which type is living inside my home?

If you see one outside then there’s a slim chance that it could have come in, but if you spot an ant indoors then this is more likely the case; don’t just kill what you find, take a picture and send it to an expert.

What is the most common type of ant?

Carpenter types are the most common types of ants that live in homes. Other common ants that live outside are types like Crazy types, Little black types, and Odorous types.

How do I identify an ant?

You can identify an ant by looking at the three types of features: the size, color, and patterns and cross-reference with a  picture to be sure.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.