Field Ants - School IPM - USU Extension

    Field Ants

    Formica spp.

    field ant

    Adult field ant; depression in thorax (April Nobile,

    field ant workers

    Field ant workers (David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

    field ant mound

    Field ant mound (Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service,


    • 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


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


    • 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)