- Latin Name: Formica spp.
- Size: Measuring rather large at 4-8mm long
- Color: Most are fully red or black or some combination of red and black
- Shape: Field Ants are regularly-shaped with very long legs. Their abdomens usually comprise at least half of their body mass.
- Found in: Found in the plain states and across the middle-south. Arkansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma are good examples of states where Field Ants thrive.
- Overview: “Field Ants” is actually used to describe a large group of ant species that thrive in dry, grassy areas. They prefer to build their nests outdoors where they have wide open spaces and plenty of room to forage for food.
About Field Ants
Most Field Ants build their nests either in wide open areas above ground or near mounds of protective material. Some species have evolved to use materials like thatch or wood to fortify their nests but in a majority of cases Field Ants build traditional “anthills” above ground which lead to underground nests. Because their anthills are so conspicuous and their coloring can be quite red, people often confuse Field Ants with Fire Ants. Field Ants don’t typically bite unless threatened but some species actually spray acid while they bite which can make their sting very painful.
Like most other ant species all Field Ant colonies have at least one queen whose job is to lay eggs. The worker ants in turn help construct and maintain the nest while others go out to gather food. These species have some of the most general appetites of any ant species and will feast on everything from honeydew to other insects to meat.
Signs of a Field Ant Infestation
The good news is, Field Ants vastly prefer to build their nests outdoors. They very rarely invade and infest homes but there have been cases of ant infestations in basements, crawlspaces, and even between walls. Humans typically come into contact with Field Ants as the workers scavenge for food on patios or decks, but this activity is usually not a sign of a problem. All-black field ants can be mistaken for carpenter ants but they do not dig earthen tunnels or leave wood shavings behind.
Nests are usually found on properties underneath stacks of wood, piles of debris, or in other areas that haven’t been maintained. The easiest way to prevent Field ant activity on your own property is to keep the ground clear of debris and check periodically for signs of anthills or ant nests. Because Field Ants are the largest group of ants they can be incredibly difficult to identify without professional help. Determining the right solutions and bait may take several applications by a professional exterminator to identify and isolate the problem.