Little Black Ant


Actual Size: 1.5 – 4 mm

Characteristics: Little black ants get their name from their small size and shiny dark brown to jet black color. Adult ants are 1/16 of an inch long while queens are twice that size at ⅛ inch in length.


  • The little black ant is native to North America and found in the northeastern U.S. to the Pacific Coast and south to Mexico.
  • Little black ant swarms are common from June to August, as they forage for food around sidewalks and trails.
  • Little black ant colonies are moderate to very large and may contain several queens.

The little black ant is a common structural pest in the south-central United States. This ant is native to North America and found in the northeastern U.S. to the Pacific Coast and south to Mexico.

Little Black Ant Habitats

Little black ants are common in wooded areas, and most infestations originate from outdoors and can be traced to a stump or a tree, log, fence or pile of lumber or bricks. Indoors, colonies may nest in voids of walls and cabinets, as well as within and behind foundations and brick or stone veneer. These ants also nest in landscape mulch and under stones.

Little Black Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although little black ants possess a stinger, it is often too small to do any damage. Little black ants are omnivorous and resourceful at finding food. They feed on insects, sweets, bread, grease, bird feces and have been known to eliminate small red imported fire ant colonies.

Little black ant infestations are not typically the result of indoor colonies. Usually the ants are nesting outdoors and coming into the home or structure to forage for food. Little black ants are persistent pests and can be tricky to eradicate.

Little Black Ant Prevention

Implement the following to prevent a little black ant infestation: Pick up rocks, debris and lumber around the home to eliminate nesting sites. Remove dead tree stumps and decaying wood and store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home. Seal cracks and crevices in foundation with a silicone-based caulking. Keep shrubbery and tree branches well trimmed and away from the home.

Spray blue window cleaner on trailing ants on kitchen counters, bathrooms and walls and wipe up with paper towels. Treat ant trails with peppermint oil, vinegar, cinnamon or baking soda. Ants don’t like the scent and will go out of their way to avoid contact.