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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Emerging Urban Pests
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Pest ants will continue to invade the United States because of the movement of agricultural products and other goods through international trade. These ants can and often do emerge as major pests. The following are a few pest ant species that the IFAHI unit is conducting limited research on:

White-footed ant, Technomyrmex albipes

White-footed ant

  • Worker size ca. 3 mm, bodies shiny black, tibia and tarsi yellow-white color
  • Colonies polygyne "supercolonies", can have several million individuals
  • Colony expansion by flights & budding
  • Omnivorous feeders and nest mainly outdoors but will also move indoors

Pharoah ant, Monomorium pharaonis

Pharoah ant

  • Workers all the same size, ca. 2 mm, and colored rust to reddish orange
  • Colonies polygyne without mating flights
  • Colonies expand by budding and live in close association with human habitations
  • Omnivorous feeders and nest indoors and outdoors



Little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata

Little fire ant

  • Worker size 1 - 2 mm and all the same size
  • Color is golden brown
  • Colonies polygyne and can be very large
  • Omnivorous feeders and nest outdoors in many areas but also can be found in houses


Ghost Ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum

  • Ghost antWorkers all the same size, ca. 1 mm
  • Color = black head & thorax, clear abdomen & legs
  • Colonies polygyne and give off musty odor when squashed
  • Omnivorous feeders but show a fondness for sweets
  • Nest outdoors and indoors

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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