Pest Ants of the Southeastern United States [Southeastern Ants] [Southern ants-Exotic species]

Joe MacGown

The following list of pest species includes 87 species. This list includes species that are considered to be serious pests, in that they may cause significant damage, health problems, kill small animals, or disrupt ecosystems, to mild, nuisance pests. The most serious pests are prefaced with a (*) symbol. Some of the species listed are seldom encountered, but when they are, they may give painful stings. This is the case with the army ants listed (Neivamyrmex spp.). Although we infrequently find them, they are aggressive and can sting like the dickens! Not all ants that sting are listed as pests, because many of these are non-aggressive, however, keep in mind that if an ant has a stinger, it can sting. Likewise, many species can bite if provoked, but not all of these are listed. The pest status of some of the listed species, such as Cardiocondyla spp., is questionable, and their negative effects may be more that they compete with native species. Many of the species from this list were included by Smith (1965) as pest species in his publication entitled "House-Infesting Ants of the Eastern United States".


Map of the southeastern United States
(including Missouri, in green)

Clicking on a species name will lead to a page with further information and photographs of that species. Although species pages are at various levels of progress, most pages now have representative photographs of at least workers of the species. In addition to the photographs of ants taken by Joe MacGown at the Mississippi Entomological Museum (MEM), many photos are used, with permission, from AntWeb, a web site about ants of the world with amazing photos. Another site with photographs of ants is "Discover Life." The Discover Life site provides a list of North American ants with photos at "Kinds of Ants, Ants of North America Page". On each individual MEM species page, a link is provided (at the bottom of the page) for that species on both the AntWeb site and the Discover Life ant site. Additionally, many of the species found in this list can be identified using the identification keys found on this web site.

The list presented is arranged alphabetically by scientific name. Following species names are the southeastern states from which the species are known from. For species that are introduced or considered to be pest species, that designation is given following the states. For species whose origin is uncertain, the word "introduced" is followed by the "?" symbol. Similarly, for questionable pest species, the word "pest" is followed by the "?" symbol.


Pest Ants of the Southeast

Aphaenogaster fulva Roger (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional structural pest, especially in rotting wood)
Aphaenogaster lamellidens Mayr (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (may nest in rotting wood of structures)
 *Atta texana (Buckley) (LA) (serious pest of pine regeneration in the upland areas of west central LA and east TX, bites)
Brachymyrmex obscurior Forel (FL, MS) (Introduced, nuisance pest)
 *Brachymyrmex patagonicus Mayr (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA,MO, MS, NC, SC) (introduced, nuisance pest)
 *Brachyponera chinensis Emery (AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN) (introduced, stinging pest)
Camponotus americanus Mayr (AL, AR, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional househeld & nuisance pest)
Camponotus caryae (Fitch) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional structural pest)
Camponotus castaneus (Latreille) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional househeld & nuisance pest)
Camponotus chromaiodes Bolton (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional structural pest in lumber)
Camponotus decipiens Emery (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA,MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional structural pest)
Camponotus discolor (Buckley) (AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, MS, SC) (occasional structural pest)
 *Camponotus floridanus (Buckley) (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (structural pest)
Camponotus inaequalis Roger (FL, MS) (introduced? structural pest)
Camponotus nearcticus Emery (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional structural pest)
Camponotus noveboracensis (Fitch) (NC) (structural pest)
 *Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (serious structural pest)
Camponotus planatus Roger (FL, MS) (introduced) (occasional structural pest)
Camponotus sansabeanus (Buckley) (AR, LA) (occasional structural pest)
Camponotus sexguttatus Fabricius (FL) (introduced, occasional strucural pest)
Camponotus snellingi Bolton (AL, FL, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional strucural pest)
Camponotus socius Roger (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (occasional househeld & nuisance pest)
Camponotus subbarbatus Emery (AL, AR, GA, MO, MS, NC) (occasional strucural pest)
Crematogaster ashmeadi Mayr (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional household & structural pest)
Crematogaster cerasi (Fitch) (AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (house infesting pest)
Crematogaster pilosa Emery (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional household & structural pest)
Dorymyrmex bureni (Trager) (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (nuisance pest, numerous mounds in yard)
Dorymyrmex smithi Cole(AL, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC) (nuisance pest, numerous mounds in yard)
Formica integra Nylander (AL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest, large colonies)
Formica subsericea Latreille (AL, FL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest, large colonies)
Hypoponera punctatissima (Roger) (FL, MS) (introduced, occasional stinging pest)
Labidus coecus (Latreille) (AR, LA) (occasional stinging pest, may kill chickens & small pets)
Lasius alienus (Foerster) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest)
Lasius interjectus (Mayr) (AR, FL, GA, MS, MO, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest)
Lasius neoniger Emery (AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest)
Linepithema humile (Mayr) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN) (introduced, nuisance pest, extremely high numbers)
 *Monomorium destructor (Jerdon) (FL, TN) (introduced, household pest)
Monomorium floricola (Jerdon) (AL, FL, MS) (introduced?, nuisance pest)
 *Monomorium minimum (Buckley) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest, occasionally nest in structures)
 *Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (introduced, nuisance pest)
Neivamyrmex carolinensis (Emery) (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex fallax Borgmeier (LA) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex melshaemeri (Haldeman) (LA) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex moseri Watkins (LA) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex nigrescens (Cresson) (AL, AR, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional nuisance & stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex opacithorax (Emery) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA,MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex pauxillus (Wheeler) (LA) (occasional stinging pest?)
Neivamyrmex pilosus (F. Smith) (AR, LA, MS) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex swainsonii (Shuckard) (LA) (occasional stinging pest)
Neivamyrmex texanus Watkins (FL, GA, NC, SC) (occasional stinging pest)
Nylanderia bourbonica (Forel) (AL, FL, GA, MO, SC) (introduced, nuisance pest)
Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS) (introduced, nuisance pest )
Nylanderia guatemalensis (Forel) (FL) (Introduced, nuisance pest??)
 *Nylanderia pubens (Forel) (FL) (introduced, nuisance pest)
Nylanderia terricola (Buckley) (AR, LA, MO, TN) (nuisance pest)
 *Nylanderia vividula (Nylander) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC ) (introduced?, nuisance pest)
Pachycondyla harpax (Fabricius) (LA) (introduced, occasional stinging pest?)
Pachycondyla stigma (Fabricius) (AL, LA, FL) (introduced, occasional stinging pest?)
 *Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille) (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN) (introduced, nuisance pest)
Pheidole bicarinata Mayr (AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional household pest, host of various tapeworms)
Pheidole dentata Mayr (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional household pest?)
Pheidole floridana Emery (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC) (occasional household pest)
 *Pheidole megacephala Fabricius (FL, MO) (introduced, pest-competes with native species)
Pheidole metallescens Emery (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (occasional household pest)
Pheidole moerens Wheeler (AL, FL, LA, MS) (introduced, pest?) (occasional household pest)
Pheidole morrisi Forel (AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (occasional household pest)
Pheidole obscurithorax Naves (AL, FL, GA, MS) (introduced, occasional stinging pest,)
Pogonomyrmex badius (Latreille) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (stinging pest, large mounds)
Pseudomyrmex cubaensis (Forel) (FL) (introduced?) (occasional stinging pest)
Pseudomyrmex ejectus (Smith) (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (occasional stinging pest)
Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius) (AL, FL, LA, MS) (introduced, occasional stinging pest)
Pseudomyrmex pallidus (Smith) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (occasional stinging pest)
Prenolepis imparis (Say) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA,MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (household pest, attracted to sweets)
 *Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius) (AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC) (serious nuisance & stinging pest)
 *Solenopsis invicta Buren (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (introduced, serious nuisance & stinging pest)
 *Solenopsis invicta x richteri (AL, MS, TN) (introduced, serious nuisance & stinging pest)
 *Solenopsis molesta (Say) (AL, AR, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN) (household nuisance, structural, & occasional stinging pest)
 *Solenopsis richteri Forel (AL, MS, TN) (introduced, serious nuisance & stinging pest)
 *Solenopsis xyloni McCook (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC) (serious nuisance & stinging pest)
 *Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius) (FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC) (introduced, househeld pest)
 *Tapinoma sessile (Say) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN) (nuisance pest)
 *Technomyrmex difficilis Forel (FL, GA, LA, MO, NC, SC) (previously misidentified as T. albipes (Smith), see Wetterer, 2008; introduced, household nuisance pest)
Tetramorium bicarinatum (Nylander) (AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC) (introduced, occasional structural & nuisance pest)
 *Tetramorium caespitum (Linnaeus) [Called T. sp. E by Schlick-Steiner (2006] (AL, MS, MO, NC, SC, TN) (introduced, nuisance & stinging pest, damage various crops)
Tetramorium caldarium (Roger) (FL) (introduced, pest?)
Tetramorium lanuginosum Mayr (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, SC) (introduced, occasional stinging pest?)
Tetramorium simillimum (F. Smith) ( FL, GA) (introduced, occasional stinging pest?)
Tetramorium tsushimae Emery (MO) (introduced, east Asia, occasional stinging pest?)
 *Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger) (FL) (introduced, nuisance & stinging pest, may infest houses, invades food stores)

Literature Cited

Schlick-Steiner, B. C., F. M. Steiner, K. Moder, B. Seifert, M.Sanetra, E. Dyreson, C. Stauffer, and E. Christian. 2006. A multidisciplinary approach reveals cryptic diversity in Western Palearctic Tetramorium ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 259-273.

Smith, M. R. 1965. House-infesting ants of the Eastern United States, their recognition, biology, and economic importance. United States Department of Agriculture, Technical Bullitin No. 1326: i-105.

Wetterer, J. K. 2008. Technomyrmex difficilis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae (in the West Indies). Florida Entomologist 91: 428-430.