Big-Headed Ant (Pheidole spp.)
Description of Workers: Small workers, around 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch (1.5 to 3 mm); yellowish or light to dark brown. The workers are different sizes and some have a very large head in proportion to their body.
Habits: Big-headed ants are most common in warmer areas of the United States, but is also found in Nebraska. This ant primarily lives outdoors and only occasionally invades structures.
Colonies have multiple queens and can be very large. Nesting is usually in the soil in protected locations like under rocks, logs, firewood, patio blocks, landscape timbers and more. The ants will also nest in open areas. Big-headed ants will construct mud tubes on foundations, similar to termite tunnels.
Management includes locating and appropriately treating colonies. Treating using outdoor granular baits may be used, but may not be effective when large colonies are present.
Pavement Ant (Tetramorium caespitum)
Habits: Pavement ants get their name because they often nest under sidewalks, driveways and building foundations. A mound of displaced soil along a paved area is probably a sign of pavement ant activity. During the winter, pavement ants may nest inside structures near a heat source.
Pavement ants are trailing ants and feed on a wide variety of foods including dead insects, greasy foods, seeds and sweets, including the honeydew of aphids.
Management includes locating and appropriately treating colonies. Commercial baits have been shown to be effective.
Read more about ants, Two Node Ants, One Node Ants in our next articles.