Black Ants in Ohio
September 01, 2023 - Ants
Ohio is home to several species of black ants, each with its own unique characteristics and habits. These ants are an integral part of Ohio's ecosystem, playing important roles in soil aeration, seed dispersal, and acting as both predators and scavengers. Here are some of the different kinds of black ants you can find in Ohio:
Black Carpenter Ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus): Black carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in Ohio, ranging from 6 to 13 mm in length. They are usually black in color and are known for their habit of nesting in wood, although they do not consume it. Instead, they excavate galleries for shelter. These ants are often found in wooded areas and may occasionally enter homes seeking food.
Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum): Pavement ants are small, black ants that measure about 2.5 to 3 mm in length. They get their name from their habit of nesting beneath pavement, rocks, and concrete. They are commonly found in urban areas and can be seen foraging for food scraps and sweets.
Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile): Odorous house ants are small, black ants measuring around 2.5 to 3.2 mm in length. They are named for the unpleasant odor they emit when crushed, often described as a "rotten coconut" smell. These ants are attracted to sugary foods and are frequently found indoors, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms.
Thief Ants (Solenopsis molesta): Thief ants are tiny, black ants, with workers averaging about 1.5 mm in length. They are called "thief ants" because they often steal food from the nests of other ant species. Their small size allows them to enter the nests of larger ants and steal their brood and food resources.
Field Ants (Formica spp.): Ohio is home to several species of field ants, which are typically black or dark brown. These ants are known for their large colonies and are commonly found in open areas such as fields, meadows, and grasslands. They play a crucial role in controlling herbivorous insect populations.
Asian Needle Ants (Brachyponera chinensis): While not native to Ohio, Asian needle ants have been introduced to some parts of the state. They are small, black ants and can be identified by the distinctive spines on their thorax. They are often found in wooded areas and are known for their aggressive behavior.
Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster spp.): Acrobat ants are black or brown and named for their habit of raising their abdomen over their thorax when disturbed, resembling a gymnast. They nest in various locations, including rotting wood and tree cavities.
Velvet Ants (Mutillidae family): Velvet ants are not true ants but are actually wingless wasps. They are black or dark brown and are known for their dense, velvety hair. Females can deliver painful stings, making them stand out among Ohio's ant-like insects.
Little Black Ants (Monomorium minimum): Little black ants are tiny, ranging from 1.5 to 2.2 mm in length. They are, as their name suggests, black and are commonly found foraging for sweets and other food sources. Their colonies can be quite large, with thousands of individuals.
Allegheny Mound Ants (Formica exsectoides): These ants are larger, measuring around 4 to 7 mm in length, and are typically black in color. Allegheny mound ants are known for constructing large, distinctive mounds in open areas like grasslands and wood edges. They are important for soil aeration and play a role in controlling herbivorous insects.
Large Yellow Ants (Acanthomyops interjectus): Despite their name, large yellow ants are black or dark brown and can be easily confused with other black ant species. They are about 3.5 to 4 mm in length and are known for their intricate underground colonies. They primarily feed on honeydew produced by aphids and scale insects.
Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta): While not as common as in the southern United States, red imported fire ants have been reported in some parts of Ohio. They are small, reddish-brown to black ants and are known for their painful stings. These ants can build large, dome-shaped mounds in open areas.
European Fire Ants (Myrmica rubra): European fire ants are small, black or dark brown ants, measuring about 4 to 5 mm in length. They are known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings. They often nest in soil and leaf litter in wooded areas.
These are just a few examples of the diverse black ant species that can be found in Ohio. Each species has its own unique biology, behavior, and ecological role, contributing to the rich biodiversity of the state.
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