Field Ants - School IPM - USU Extension

    Field Ants

    Formica spp.

    field ant

    Adult field ant; depression in thorax (April Nobile, Antweb.org)

    field ant workers

    Field ant workers (David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org)

    field ant mound

    Field ant mound (Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)

    Identification

    • black or reddish brown and black
    • one node (bump between middle and rear body sections)
    • most common ant found in yards and gardens
    • often mistaken for carpenter ants, but not as likely to forage indoors (observed indoors most commonly in spring)
    • ants of multiple sizes
    • depression in thorax differentiates them from carpenter ants

    Nesting Habits

    • nest outdoors in loose soil
    • may produce mounds (sometimes incorporating twigs, dried leaves and other plant materials) in exposed areas or nest under rocks, logs, etc.
    • do not frequently come indoors

    Diet

    • variety of foods
    • prefer sweet materials such as honeydew excreted by aphids and other insects
    • can be scavengers or predators

    Significance

    • become a nuisance during swarming flights
    • can create mounds in turf areas

    IPM Recommendations

    • Seal potential ant entryways.
    • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of trash regularly.
    • Locate and destroy nests in lawns and adjacent areas.
    • Control soft scale, mealybug or aphid populations on nearby ornamental plants.

    Additional Resources:

    IPM for Ants: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)