Ants may seem like small, insignificant creatures, but in reality, there are many different species with unique characteristics and behaviors. In Texas, six ant species stand out: the imported red fire ant, pyramid ant, carpenter ant, crazy ant, acrobat ant, and Argentine ant. Understanding the differences between these species and their impact on the environment can help us better appreciate the diversity of the insect world in Texas.
6 Common Ants in Texas
The following list of ants in Texas highlights the unique characteristics and behaviors of six different species, each playing a crucial role in the ecosystem of the Lone Star State.
1. Imported red fire ants
The red imported fire ant is a very aggressive, invasive species that has been spreading in Texas since the 1950s. It currently infests more than the eastern two-thirds of the state, and some urban areas in western Texas.
The ants are small, reddish-brown, and have a nasty sting that can cause painful burning and swelling. Red imported fire ants live in large colonies that can reach 300,000 workers, which makes them difficult to control with pesticides alone.
2. Pyramid Ant
The pyramids are found in Egypt, but we aren’t talking about those pyramids when referring to pyramid ants. Instead, we are talking about a specific type of ant that is just ⅛” long and has a pyramid shape on top of the thorax part of its body (thus the name).
As with many types of ants, they are a reddish black color or sometimes dark brown. You will see them out and about building their nests in an open and sunny area that they can find.
The worker ants of this species are particularly industrious as they will work to deposit soil into the crater that is at the entrance hole of their mound or home. They keep working at this until the mound is the perfect design for themselves and their entire colony.
If you would like to see pyramid ants for yourself, they can be found all over Texas. They are a native species, and you may encounter them under decorative rocks or logs as well as in other areas that they are known to gather around.
3. Carpenter Ants
Texas is home to plenty of carpenter ants, but this species is also found all over the United States. They are extremely effective at spreading out and going to where they need to go to create more colonies. Nests of carpenter ants are often discovered around piles of sawdust and other wood scraps in the Texas area and beyond.
These ants are probably best known for being a sign that there may be some deeper structural damage occurring within one’s home. They’re drawn to damaged homes and to structures that have sustained damage because they know that this is an ideal place for them to nest and create their colonies. As you might suspect, homeowners are never pleased to learn that they have carpenter ants.
4. Crazy Ant
This is yet another species of ant that has a hilarious name and is found in Texas. Unfortunately for homeowners or anyone else worried about an ant invasion on their property, the crazy ant is very difficult to attract to ant traps.
They just don’t get fooled into those traps like so many other types of ants do. This can make things extremely frustrating for the average person who is just trying to do their best to rid their property of ants that they don’t want to deal with.
Finally, the crazy ant is also an omnivore, so it will try to eat other living things. Talk about a nightmare of an ant to have to deal with! Perhaps they have truly earned the nickname “crazy ant” after all!
5. Acrobat Ant
This native Texas ant is commonly found in stumps and other pieces of dead wood. They are also known to get into homes from time to time. Acrobat ants will build nests in trees which is not exactly common for most types of ants, and it makes them particularly difficult to get rid of as they are not simply on the ground at all times.
They can hide away in trees without concern, and it is often the case that this is exactly what they do. The heart-shaped abdomen that builds the body of the acrobat ant is truly a sight to behold. You will want to pay special attention to see if you are able to locate and identify this type of ant in your own neighborhoods if you live in Texas.
6. Argentine Ant
Despite the name, the Argentine ant is found in many places outside of the country of Argentina. You can certainly find them in Texas, and they are becoming increasingly common.
One of the things that you may notice about these ants is that they are prone to trying to get inside of people’s homes. This is because they are very attracted to the types of foods that many people keep in their homes.
These include greasy foods and sweet foods as well. It is typical that they will smell these types of foods and try to make their way indoors. You can think their 12-segmented antennae for their ability to detect these scents from so far away.
Their amazing ability to smell foods at such a distance and to find their way to their foods has certainly earned them a reputation with many people, and it is something that should be recognized as important to the survival of this species.
Texas is home to plenty of different types of ants, and the more that you know about them, the more you will start to see them sprouting up all over the place. The more that you know what you are looking for, the better you will be able to identify these ants and decide how you will respond to them (if at all).