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Common Pest Ants of the Southeastern United States

Although many ants may be considered to be pests from the human vantage point on occasion, only a subset of these would be considered to be serious pests that are regularly encountered by humans. Below is a list of the most commonly encountered pest ants in our region. For a more comphrehensive list of pest ants go to the Pest Ants of the Southeastern United States web page. The list below is arranged alphabetically by genus.


Common name
Scientific Name(s)
Type of Pest SE States where ant is found
Image
leaf cutter ant
pest of pine forests in sandy, upland areas; bites LA
obscure rover ant
nuisance; may adversly affect biodiversity FL, MS (southern parts of these states)
dark rover ant
nuisance; may adversly affect biodiversity widespread in SE
Asian needle ant
stings; adversly affects biodiversity AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN
Florida carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus (Buckley)
structural pest; nuisance AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC (found in sandy areas in the Coastal Plain, mostly coastal)
red carpenter ant
structural pest; nuisance NC (ant northward)
black carpenter ant
structural pest; nuisance widespread in SE
compact carpenter ant Camponotus planatus Roger
structural pest; nuisance FL, MS (especially southern half of FL, limited to Gulf Coast in MS)
carpenter ants (various spp.)
structural; nuisance widespread throughout SE except C. inaequalis, which has only been reported from FL and coastal MS
acrobat ants
household pest: occasional structural pest widespread in SE
pyramid ants
nuisance pest, numerous mounds in yard widespread in SE, in sandy soils
mound or thatch ants
nuisance pest, large colonies widespread in SE, especially north of FL
tropical stinging ant or Roger's ant
occasional stinging pest AL, FL, MS (limited to coastal AL, MS, & SC)
cornfield ants; citrinella ants
nuisance widespread in SE
Argentine ant
huge supercolonies; nuisance; adversly affects biodiversity widepread in SE up to southern TN
bicolored trailing ant
nuisance pest AL, FL, MS (more common in FL, only in southern AL and MS)
little black ant
nuisance pest widespread in SE
pharoah ant
nuisance pest widespread in SE, but typically localized and often indoors
robust crazy ant
nuisance pest AL, FL, GA, SC (scattered localities)
Tawny crazy ant
huge supercolonies, nuisance, adversly affects biodiversity, short circuits electrical equipment AL, FL, GA, LA, MS (southern coastal plain predominately)
crazy ants (other spp.) Nylanderia guatemalensis (Forel)
Nylanderia pubens (Forel)
Nylanderia terricola (Buckley)
Nylanderia vividula (Nylander)
nuisance pest widespread in SE
trapjaw ant Odontomachus haematodus (Linnaeus) stinging pest, adversly affects biodiversity, AL, FL, LA, MS (Gulf Coast region)
panther ants Pachycondyla harpax (Fabricius)
Pachycondyla stigma (Fabricius)
stinging pest LA (P. harpax)
AL, LA, FL (P. stigma)
long legged crazy ant Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille) huge supercolonies, nuisance, adversly affects biodiversity AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN (populations not found in FL or coastal regions are typically indoors)
Big headed ants Pheidole megacephala Fabricius
Pheidole navigans Forel
Pheidole obscurithorax Naves
occasional household pest; competes with native species

FL (P. megacephala)

AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, SC - southern coastal plain (P. moerens)

AL, FL, GA, MS - mostly in Gulf Coast region (P. obscrurithorax)

Florida harvester ant Pogonomyrmex badius (Latreille) stinging pest, large mounds AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC (only nests in areas with deep sand)
twig ants Pseudomyrmex ejectus (Smith)
Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius)
Pseudomyrmex pallidus (Smith)
occasional stinging pest) widepread in SE, especially in southern parts of Coastal Plain (P. gracilis is an introduced species mostly found in coastal counties)
red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren serious nuisance & stinging pest widespread in SE
black imported fire ant
serious nuisance & stinging pest northern AL and MS, south central TN
hybrid imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta x richteri serious nuisance & stinging pest AL, MS, TN
native fire ants Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius)
Solenopsis xyloni McCook
serious nuisance & stinging pest historically widespread in SE, but moved out by imported fire ants, relict populations of S. geminata still present in FL
thief ants Solenopsis carolinensis Forel
Solenopsis molesta
(Say)
nuisance, structural, & occasional stinging pest widespread in SE
ghost ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius) househeld pest FL, GA, LA, MS, NC (more common in FL, but isolated records elsewhere, usually coastal)
odorous house ant Tapinoma sessile (Say nuisance pest widespread in SE
whitefooted ant Technomyrmex difficilis Forel household nuisance pest FL
pavement ants Tetrarium bicarinatum (Nylander)
 Tetrarium caespitum (Linnaeus)
occasional structural & nuisance pest widespread in SE
little fire ant  Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) nuisance & stinging pest, may infest houses, invades food stores FL