The Big Headed Ant is often misidentified and confused with either a pharaoh ant or a fire ant worker. All of these ants have 2 nodes between their abdomen and thorax, are yellow to reddish brown in color and have a three section club antenna. The Big Headed Ant has two distinct sizes of workers. A major worker, is a soldier, defends the colony and a minor worker forages for the colony. The major workers have a very large head in proportion to their bodies which gives them the name Big Headed Ants. The minor workers look similar to other types of ants except for the antennas which have 12 segments. The first segment, called the scape, of the antenna only reaches about halfway up the head. Big Headed Ants have a stinger like many other ants, but it may not be extended and visible at all times.
These ants have multiple queens and are more common as a structural pest in warm regions, such as here in Southwest Florida. They generally are only an occasional, unwanted invader primarily living outdoors.
Big Headed Ants usually nest in the soil, in protected locations under rocks, logs, firewood, patio blocks, landscape timbers, and various types of debris. Here in Southwest Florida, they rarely nest in the soil and prefer the cracks and voids within tree bark, fences, and walls of your home. They also form huge, extended colonies called “Super Colonies”. New colonies are primarily formed by mid-summer flights, however budding (splitting) may occur with the large multi-queen colonies. This ant may form large bone piles of dead colony members along foundations, baseboards, and under carpeting.
Big Headed Ants feed upon live and dead insects, seed and honeydew produced by aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Once these ants get inside a home they prefer protein rich foods such as meats and peanut butter but will also feed upon sweets and fruits.
Getting rid of the Big Headed Ant is best accomplished by locating and eliminating the colonies found in and around the structure. If the Big Headed Ant colonies cannot be located, bait can be placed in areas where foraging ants can find the bait. However, the results may be less than satisfactory. Perimeter treatments may be helpful when encountering a situation where there are large, extended colonies.
Call Collier Pest Control today for a free estimate and complete explanation on any of our services. Don’t let unwanted guests spoil your beautiful Southwest Florida lifestyle. Remember, Florida does not have to be shared with insects.