Monomorium minimum

Little Black Ant - Monomorium minimum
Color: Shiny Black
Legs: 6
Shape:

Slender, smooth, one-segmented

Size: 1/16 "
Antennae: Yes
Region: Throughout the United States

One of the most common ants in homes, the Little Black Ant is active day and night and is often seen carrying particles of food many feet back to its nest. Their colonies are large – with thousands of workers and several queens.

Habits

Little Black Ants eat a wide variety of foods including sweets, meats and other insects – living or dead. Their preferred food is honeydew – the sweet secretion of plants. In the house they tend toward sweets, meats, bread, grease, oils and fruit. When they find a food source, they release a pheromone that calls worker ants to help cut up and cart the food particles back to the nest. The workers are known raise their abdomens and spray venom when threatened or alarmed.

Habitat

Outdoors, Little Black Ants nest in open areas of soil in lawns creating very small craters of very fine soil. They also nest under dead and decaying wood – logs, tree stumps, dead tree limbs, tree bark, firewood and hollow tree cavities; beneath leaf litter, rocks, and bricks; and in old termite galleries. Indoors they nest in wall voids, woodwork, masonry, and under carpeting.

Threats

Painful bites can cause swelling and inflammation. When disturbed they raise their abdomens and spray venom at any rival ants. For such a small creature they can even invade fire ant colonies and take over. They have also been known to damage electric cables, clothes and fabrics.

Prevention

To prevent entry into a structure, seal any cracks or crevices in exterior walls and around utility lines. Repair any damaged wood in windows, door frames, porches and eaves. Clean up all leaf litter and debris. Store wood piles away from the house or garage. Trim shrubs/trees away from the home. Eliminate any moisture problems.

 

*Information courtesy of the Texas A&M University, Entomology Department.

*Image Courtesy of National Pest Management Association

 

For more information on South Jersey Ants, check out the articles in AB-Con's Bug Blog:

Which Ant is Which? Little Black Ant

Spring - Are Ants Marching into Your South Jersey Home?

4 Reasons Why You Need a Professional to Take Care of Your Ant Problem

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