Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

What Are Black Ants and How to Control Them

Most ants appear to be black, and unless you’re on the floor with a magnifying glass it’s hard to tell a white-footed ant from a dark brown grease ant. Most people can tell a (relatively) large ant, like a carpenter ant, from the smallest ants, known as little black ants. Despite their cute little name, little black ants, technically Monomorium minimum, are a huge pain for homeowners.

Little black ants can be found from Canada to Mexico and in the United States. These shiny, jet-black critters are ubiquitous in grasslands and wooded habitats, i.e. your yard. Although they are only 1/16th of an inch long, little black ant colonies can contain over 2,000 workers and numerous queens. The tiny critters are highly adaptive; they can nest in open areas of the lawn, in cracks in the cement, and under rocks, bricks, and logs. Black ants will also build colonies in your home’s woodwork, walls and even under the carpet. If you see a few ants it’s likely they are widely dispersed throughout your house and crawling through all its cracks and crevices.

Little black worker ants live about four months while queens can live up to a year. If the insects are in your house they’re looking for food and they’re not picky eaters. Black ants consume sweets, vegetables, greasy and oily foods, and corn meal.

There are two ways to evict little black ants from your premises: clean and kill. Outdoors, remove debris, decaying wood, and rotting firewood from around your house. Indoors, place foods in airtight containers or the refrigerator. To permanently rid your house of the little pests place ant killing bait traps or source kill ant baits wherever you see ants. The workers carry the food back to the colony where it kills the queens and other ants. After a few weeks, your big problem with itty bitty ants will be a thing of the past.