Common Ant Species

Some ant species live in colonies that are supported by a single queen while others are supported by multiple queens. Although there are around 23 ant species known in the Philippines, there are relatively few that we commonly found in our premises. These include:

Black House Ant

(Ochetellus)

Appearance

  • Shiny and black.
  • 2.5 - 3mm long.
Life cycle and habits of the Black House Ant

Lifecycle

  • Larva hatches out of the egg as a white grub which is narrower towards the head. They are fed by the adults.
  • The larva pupates and appears creamy-white, looking similar to an adult. Sometimes they have a protective silk cocoon around them.
  • The adult emerges with the three defined body sections: head, thorax and abdomen.
  • The length of time between the egg stage and ants emerging as adults can take 6 weeks or more; it depends on a variety of factors such as the species of ant, the temperature and the availability of food.
  • Fertilised eggs become female, unfertilised become males.

Habits

  • These ants are regarded as a nuisance and scavenge in kitchens, garbage and also dog excrement, therefore potentially spreading diseases such as salmonella.
  • The most effective control measure is to find the colony and treat it.


    Get rid of them here.

Ghost Ant

(Tapinoma melanocephalum)

Appearance

  • Pale/Translucent legs and abdomen.
  • 16mm long.
Life cycle and habits of the Ghost Ant

Life Cycle

  • Continuous breeding colonies.

Habits

  • Feeding – indoors: sweet substances and grease; outdoors: insects that produce honeydew.
  • Nesting – indoors: small spaces, wall voids; outdoors: in flowerpots, under objects on the ground, under loose bark.
  • Locations - attracted to high moisture areas, can be found in kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Colonies can occupy several different nesting sites.

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Odorous House Ant

(Tapinoma sessile)

Appearance

  • Brown or black. 
  • 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. 
  • Antennae have 12 segments and are not terminated with a club. 
  • 6 legs.
Life cycle and habits of the Odorous House Ant

Lifecycle

  • Time to adult phase of development is 34-38 days. 
  • Typically live for several years.

Habits

  • Feeding - eat most household foods, especially sugary food, eg sweets and fruits such as melon. Also eat pet food. 
  • Locations – attracted to moisture. In hot, dry environments nests can be found in house plants and even lids of toilets. 
  • Odor - produce a coconut smell when crushed. 
  • Colonies - range in size from 100-10,000.

Get rid of them here

Pharaoh’s Ant

(Monomorium pharaonis)

Appearance

  • Workers 1.5-2mm long, yellow-brown with brown abdomen.
  • Males 3mm long, black, winged.
  • Queens 3.5-6mm long, dark red in color with wings.
  • Black eyes, 2 small segments at the pedicel.
Life cycle and habits of the Pharaoh’s Ant

Life Cycle

  • Multi-queen colonies.
  • Swarming can take place at any time of the year.
  • Winged adults seldom fly so rarely seen. Wings are soon lost after mating.

Habits

  • Well–defined trails are laid which are often associated with heating systems. Feeds indoors on high protein foods — meat, fats, blood, dead insects, etc.
  • Swarming characteristics — new colonies are often formed through nests that have been disturbed e.g., as a result of insecticide spray treatments.
  • Each queen produces up to 3,500 eggs in its lifetime.
  • Nest locations — deep seated in cavities in heated buildings. Often found in hospitals. Associated with humid conditions. Colonies can range from a few dozen to 300,000 individuals.

Get rid of them here

Pavement Ant

(Tetramorium caespitum)

Appearance

  • Dark brown or blackish.
  • 1/8" long.
  • 6 legs.
  • 2 spines on the back and 2 nodes on petiole.
  • A groove on head and thorax is uneven with 1 pair of spine.
  • 12-segmented antennae with 3-segmented lub.
  • Winged ants are often mistaken for termites.
Life cycle and habits of the Pavement Ant

Lifecycle

  • Multi-queen colonies.
  • Swarming can take place at any time of the year.
  • The development of a pavement ant is estimated to be 6 - 8 weeks from egg to adult.

Habits

  • Feeding - eat almost anything that humans eat, and also pet food.
  • Visibility - seen entering houses looking for food, most often at night. May move through pipes and electrical wires.
  • Nesting - in lawns or under stones, wood, or boards. Mounds built along sidewalks, baseboards, and near foundations in clusters. Colonies found near water.

Get rid of them here

Little Black Ant

(Monomorium minimum)

Little Black Ant

Appearance

  • Dark brownish / black or jet black in color
  • Unevenly rounded throrax.
  • workers are as small as 1.5 mm in length, and queens can measure up to 4 mm.
Life cycle and habits of the Little Black Ant

Lifecycle

  • Little black ant colonies have moderate to large populations, with two or more queens in one colony.
  • Little black ant winged swarms are common during the summer months which time mating occurs.
  • After mating, both males and females shed their wings and the males die soon after mating.

Habits

  • Worker ants forage in scent-marked trails.
  • They will fight larger ant species over food resources.
  • Feeding on just about anything from sweets, seeds and produce to living and dead insects, meats and oily foods.
  • These ants build their nests primarily in dark, protected areas under rocks, rotting logs, decaying trees, even cement cracks, but will also thrive in lawns or gardens.
  • Indoors, little black ants build their nests in woodwork, wall voids, baseboards and under carpeting.

Weaver Ant "Hantik"

(Oecophylla)

Green tree ant

Appearance

  • Orange in color
  • Strong legs and Large mandibles
  • Approx 5mm-25mm in length.
Life cycle and habits of the Weaver Ant "Hantik"

Lifecycle

  • A colony can contain up to a million ants, thus these are very invasive ants which can be hard to eradicate.
  • Nearly half a colony is made up of fertile females so reproductive capabilities are huge. These are winged and larger than wingless females.
  • Winged males mate once before they die, wingless males are capable of multiple mating.
  • Adult workers are wingless females and are the ones seen looking for food.

Habits

  • They bite and not sting.
  • Although colonies are vast in numbers, they tend to spread out into satellite colonies which nest in different locations.
  • Ideal nesting locations outside include trees - in trunks or galleries that might have once been created by termites, under loose bark or plant debris, nearer the home in attics, under roof shingles, in wall voids, along fences and in outdoor furniture. Indoors they can be found in the kitchen area near bins or where food is stored or prepared.
  • These ants are attracted to sweet substances - plant nectars, flowers and sweet human food substances. Also attracted to aphids and mealy bugs which secrete honeydew.
  • Most likely to be seen foraging for food in large numbers, most likely at night if temperatures are high.

Carpenter Ant

(Camponotus pennsylvanicus)

Appearance

  • Workers: 1/4" long.
  • Queen: 1/2" long.
  • Blackish color most common but can also be black and red.
  • 6 legs.
Life cycle and habits of the Carpenter Ant

Life Cycle

  • It takes 3 - 6years to establish a large and stable colony.
  • The life cycle of a carpenter ant is estimated to be 6 - 12 weeks from egg to adult.

Habits

  • Locations - both moist and dry wood, but prefer moist, e.g. wood dampened by water leaks.
  • Internally - excavate galleries in wood with a smooth appearance.
  • Externally - sometimes hollow out sections of trees.
  • Visibility - hunt for food mainly at night but also during the day in early spring / summer. Signs include sawdust, wet wood, or unusual noises coming from the walls.
  • Feeding - primary food is honeydew, also eat plant secretions, fruit juices and insect remains. They do not eat wood. In homes they are attracted to sweet substances, fats, grease and meats.
  • Contact - rarely come into contact with people, but if they do will try to escape. They cannot sting.

Get rid of them here

Fire Ant

(Solenopsis spp)

Appearance

  • Queens 5/8" long. 
  • Workers 1/8"-1/4" long. 
  • Coppery–brown on the head and body, with a darker abdomen. 
  • Solenopsis has a very distinctive two–segment antennal club, which is most visible in the front view of the female reproductive ant.
Life cycle and habits of the Fire Ant

Lifecycle

  • After swarming from the nest and mating, the queen searches for a suitable spot to lay her eggs. Once found, she can lay up to 125 eggs in late Spring. 
  • Larvae hatch within 8 to 10 days, and the pupal stage lasts for 9 to 16 days. 
  • Larvae feed on secretions from the queen’s salivary glands and broken down wing muscles until the first worker ants emerge. After this first batch of larvae moult into workers the queen’s role returns to egg laying – she can lay up to 1500 per day. Worker ants continue with larval care, nest building and food foraging. 
  • Fertile males are produced later in the season.

Habits

  • Foraging workers diet consists of dead animals, including insects, earthworms, and vertebrates. Workers also collect honeydew and forage for sweet food, proteins, and fats. 
  • Nest locations can be a mound of up to 40 cm or next to objects found on the ground, e.g. logs. 
  • If aggravated, these react aggressively and can inflict a painful sting, resulting in a pustule some 48 hours later. 
  • These ants are a major agricultural and urban pest, destroying crops and invading residential areas both outdoors and indoors.

Get rid of them here


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