Oregon is home to a wide variety of ant species. Oregon has a diverse selection of ant species, from the small but pesky pavement ants to the large and destructive carpenter ants.
This blog post will explore the types of ants in Oregon, their habitats, behaviors, and how to identify them.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of ants in Oregon!
1. Ponerine Ant
The ponerine ant is a species of ant found in Oregon that is small in size, usually about 2-4 millimeters long.
They are known for their aggressive and fierce nature, often biting and stinging humans if provoked. They are dark brown to black in color, with a small head and long, slender mandibles.
These ants can nest in soil, under rocks or logs, and decaying wood. Ponerine ants are omnivorous, eating both plant material and insects.
They typically feed on honeydew produced by aphids or other small insects, but they may also scavenge dead insects or hunt other small invertebrates.
While they do not cause major damage to homes, they may become pests if they nest too close to the home.
2. Cornfield Ant
The cornfield ant, or Lasius neoniger, is one of the most common types of ants in Oregon. This ant is small and black in color, with a unique and distinct yellowish-orange band around its thorax.
It is a ground-dwelling ant that nests in soil and lives in colonies that consist of a queen, workers, and some males.
Cornfield ants are often found on agricultural land and in gardens. The cornfield ant is an omnivore and feeds on various foods, including insects, seeds, honeydew, and even dead animals.
They benefit humans as they prey on other pests like aphids, scale insects, and beetles which can damage plants and crops.
They also help improve soil health by aerating the soil and providing organic matter for microbial activity.
3. Yellow Meadow Ant
The yellow meadow ant (Formica floridana) is a species of ant native to Oregon. It is common in the western parts of the state, particularly in forests and grasslands.
The yellow meadow ant is about 3/16-inch long and has a distinctive yellow and black pattern. It can be found nesting in the soil and foraging on the surface.
This species is social and lives in colonies with up to several hundred individuals. Like other ants, it feeds on various insects, seeds, and other organic matter.
The yellow meadow ant will feed on sugary substances, such as honeydew, secreted by aphids.
These types of ants in Oregon are beneficial to the environment since they feed on many pest insects, such as caterpillars.
Unfortunately, the yellow meadow ant can also become a nuisance pest if it invades homes or buildings. To control an infestation, you can use ant baits or insecticides.
4. Odorous House Ant
These ants feed on almost anything, including sweets, proteins, grease, dead insects, pet food, and even feces. They may enter through small cracks in the foundation or other entry points to get inside.
Once they’ve made their way inside, they’ll set up nests in moist, dark areas, such as wall voids, pipe chases, or inside cabinets and drawers.
If you’ve noticed odorous house ants in your home or business, it’s important to take action immediately.
These ants can spread harmful bacteria and disease-causing organisms throughout your property.
To prevent an infestation from occurring, keep food stored in airtight containers and reduce moisture around the property.
Contact a professional pest control company for help if an infestation has already occurred.
5. Dracula Ant
These ants are considered beneficial for controlling termites and other pests. The workers of these colonies are quite small, measuring only about one millimeter in length.
They can often be identified by the presence of their dark mandibles, which are used to grab and carry food. These ants also have no eyes and use their antennae to navigate.
Overall, Dracula ants are an interesting and important part of the Oregon ecosystem. They may look a little scary, but they play an important role in keeping termite populations in check.
6. Nevada Acorn Ant
The Nevada Acorn Ant is a type of ant found in the western part of the United States, especially in the state of Nevada. These ants have black bodies and reddish-brown heads and legs.
The Nevada Acorn Ant is primarily a seed-eating ant, but they also feed on other small insects and larvae.
They are quite common in residential areas, as they attract seeds from bird feeders and pet food dishes.
These ants are quite small, measuring between 3 and 4 millimeters in length. They prefer to nest in dry, sandy soil near the base of trees or in wooded areas.
The nests are usually constructed with sand and bits of bark, and soil particles surround the entrance.
The Nevada Acorn Ant is a very hardy species that can survive even in extremely hot temperatures. It is also relatively tolerant to environmental changes.
This makes them a great choice for ant control in residential areas, as they are not prone to quickly moving from one location to another like some other species of ant.
When controlling these types of ants in Oregon, it is best to use baits that contain hydramethylnon, boric acid, or spinosad.
These baits can be used inside or outside the home, killing the adult ants and the eggs.
For more effective control, homeowners should also employ mechanical methods like caulking up cracks and crevices around the home where the ants may enter.
7. Immigrant Pavement Ant
Inside the home, they typically enter through cracks or crevices around doors and windows in search of food and shelter.
Inside, they will often establish their colonies in wall voids or similar dark spaces. They feed on various foods, including sweet items, fats and oils, and even dead insects.
The immigrant pavement ant is considered a nuisance pest in Oregon due to its tendency to enter homes in search of food.
To control this ant, it is best to locate and remove any nests you find. Sealing any potential entry points into your home is also important.
If the problem persists, it may be necessary to contact a professional pest control company for assistance.
8. Andre’s Acorn Ant
One of the types of ants in Oregon is Andre’s Acorn Ant, also known as Acorn Ants or Tempiste Acorn Ants.
These small, black ants are found in wooded areas throughout the state. They feed on honeydew produced by aphids and small insects, as well as acorns, nuts, and other protein sources.
The colony workers are about 3mm long, and the queens are between 4-5mm. The legs and antennae are yellowish brown, and the abdomen is dark with yellow stripes.
They nest in moist soil, rotten logs, and the bases of trees. They can build large ant hills around their nests.
Andre’s Acorn Ants are an interesting species to observe in Oregon’s wooded areas. Though they can be aggressive if disturbed, they are harmless to humans.
9. False Honey Ant
False honey ants are a species of ant found in Oregon. They are small, black ants that can be found on the ground or in the trees.
False honey ants feed on nectar and honeydew from aphids. They do not build mounds or colonies but rather live in loose nests in the ground or tree cavities.
False honey ants are considered beneficial to gardens, as they help control aphid populations. They have an extremely strong scent and are often mistaken for honey bees.
When threatened, false honey ants will release a strong odor that can be unpleasant to some people. It is important to be aware of these ants and take precautions when dealing with them.
10. Thief Ant
The thief ant is one of the more common types of ants in Oregon. It is a small, yellow-brown ant that is most recognizable for its long legs and antennae.
This ant gets its name from its habit of nesting in the nests of other ant species and stealing their food.
Thief ants are typically found in warm, dry areas, such as under rocks, logs, and in woodpiles. They prefer to nest in tight spaces and are usually found close to the ground.
The thief ant feeds on both live and dead insects and can also be attracted to sweet and greasy foods.
While they do not sting or bite humans, they can become a nuisance when they enter homes looking for food. Control methods include baits and sprays to eliminate infestations.
11. Western Harvester Ant
The Western harvester ant is native to Oregon and a common species throughout the state. This ant is considered a pest because it will raid crops such as grains and other food sources.
Its reddish-brown head and thorax can identify it with a yellow abdomen. Western harvester ants can grow up to 1/4” long and can have a variety of different sizes.
They are omnivorous, meaning they feed on both plants and animals. They live in large colonies that typically include up to 10,000 workers and one or more queens.
These types of ants in Oregon are usually located near meadows or grasslands.
12. Californian Big-headed Ant
The Californian Big-headed Ant (Pheidole California) is a species of ant found in Oregon. This species is usually reddish-brown to black in color and can measure up to 6mm in length.
They are highly invasive, as they can quickly reproduce and establish themselves in new areas.
This species is especially fond of woody debris and moist soil. They feed on various foods, including other insects, dead animals, and plant matter.
They are also known to be particularly attracted to human food sources, making them a nuisance for homes and gardens.
The Californian Big-headed Ant is considered an important pest in Oregon due to its ability to colonize new areas quickly and its tendency to outcompete other ant species.
As such, it is important to take measures to reduce their numbers and prevent them from becoming established in new areas.
This can be done by regularly inspecting your property and implementing various control methods.
13. Velvety Tree Ant
These ants form colonies of up to 500 workers and create nests within tree branches. These nests are made of a thick layer of chewed wood fibers, forming an insulated chamber that helps protect the ant colony from predators.
Velvety Tree Ants will feed on various food sources, including dead insects, honeydew, and nectar.
The Velvety Tree Ants are an important part of Oregon’s ecology and environment and integral to its biodiversity.
14. Athabasca Thin Ant
These types of ants in Oregon feed on sugar and protein, making them omnivorous.
They often come inside homes searching for food and may even form trails between the outside and inside of the home if they’ve discovered a reliable food source.
To prevent infestations of Athabasca thin ants, it’s important to keep your home free of crumbs and other food debris.
Additionally, sealing cracks or crevices in your home’s exterior can help keep them out.
15. Turfgrass Ant
The turfgrass ant is one of the most common types of ants in Oregon. This small ant is light brown or yellowish-brown in color and has a black, segmented body.
It measures between 1/16 – 1/8 of an inch long and usually prefers to make its home in lawns and grassy areas.
This type of ant feeds on other insects and their larvae, as well as the nectar and honeydew secretions produced by other bugs.
The turfgrass ant may also eat some plant material, particularly if it is dried or rotting.
The presence of these ants is generally not a cause for concern, as they do not spread disease or cause damage to structures.
However, it can become a nuisance if the population becomes too large. To control a turfgrass ant infestation, it is best to treat the area with insecticide sprays or baits that contain abamectin, fipronil, hydramethylnon, or chlorpyrifos.
16. Wide-legged Citronella Ant
The Wide-legged Citronella Ant is one of the most common types of ants in Oregon.
This species of ant is black or dark brown in color and is relatively large compared to other ants, measuring between 3/16-1/2 inches in length.
They have long legs and antennae, giving them a wide appearance when viewed from above.
17. Larger Yellow Ant
The larger yellow ant is a species of ant native to Oregon and the western United States.
It is considered a nuisance pest due to its large size and tendency to invade homes. It is generally orange-yellow in color, with a distinctive black head and legs.
The ants are typically found near homes and other buildings, where food sources, such as crumbs, pet food, and other small objects, attract them.
These ants usually build their colonies outdoors but may also set up nests inside your home. They often live in large groups, which can number in the thousands.
To control larger yellow ant populations, you must reduce the number of available food sources and nesting sites.
Additionally, proper sanitation practices should be implemented to reduce the risk of attracting these pests. Finally, pesticide treatments may be necessary if infestations become severe.
18. Crazy Ant
The crazy ant, also known as the tawny crazy ant, is one of the most common types of ants in Oregon.
This species is native to South America but has since spread worldwide and is now found in the Pacific Northwest.
These small, reddish-brown ants are characterized by their erratic movements, which gives them their name.
They measure between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch and have long antennae and large eyes.
The crazy ant typically lives in small colonies of up to several thousand members and prefers moist areas with plenty of food sources, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
They eat all types of food but are particularly attracted to sweet substances. Though they can be a nuisance, the crazy ant does not pose any real danger to people or their property.
To keep them away from your home, it’s important to eliminate potential food sources, seal up cracks and crevices, and repair leaky pipes or fixtures.
19. Smooth Carpenter Ant
The Smooth Carpenter Ant is a species of ant found in Oregon and throughout the western United States.
These ants are known for their large, reddish-black heads and smooth, shiny bodies. They are usually seen traveling in colonies, looking for food sources.
The Smooth Carpenter Ants prefer to nest in damp and decaying wood and can be found in the walls and ceilings of homes and other structures.
They will build extensive galleries in wood and will often spread wood shavings and sawdust around their nests as they carve tunnels.
These types of ants in Oregon can cause considerable damage to wooden structures in Oregon, as well as contaminate food supplies with their feces and castings.
It is important to recognize the signs of an infestation to take action before the damage becomes too extensive.
Signs of an infestation include piles of sawdust near windows or door frames, wings on surfaces near window sills, or damaged wood with small holes in it.
If you suspect that you may have a Smooth Carpenter Ant infestation, it is best to contact a pest control professional for advice on how to get rid of them.
20. Little Hairless Rover Ant
These ants feed on various items, including sugary substances, proteins, and fats. They also have been known to scavenge for pet food and sometimes even dine on dead insects.
In some cases, they can even damage wood structures as they search for food sources.
Though not known to be particularly dangerous to humans, LHRs can become a nuisance if their populations become large enough.
If you find these ants in your home or other structures, it’s best to contact an exterminator to help remove them from the area.
21. Western Collared Ant
The Western Collared Ant (Formica obscuripes) is a common ant species found throughout the western United States and Canada.
This ant species is found in most of Oregon, especially the state’s western side. Its reddish-brown head and thorax identify it, and its dark brown abdomen measures around 1/8 inch long.
The Western Collared Ant is known for its ability to form bridges between different surfaces, such as between plants, logs, and buildings.
It will build these bridges with its body by attaching its feet to one surface and then reaching out and attaching its antennae to another surface. This behavior has been observed to help them cross difficult terrain.
These types of ants in Oregon are not known to sting or bite humans and pose no real danger to humans or their property.
However, if disturbed or threatened, they may emit a noxious odor that can be quite unpleasant.
Ants are an important part of Oregon’s ecosystem, so it’s important to understand the different types of ants found in the area.
We’ve outlined some of the most common types of ants you’ll find in Oregon.
All of these ants play a role in the Oregon environment and can affect how the area functions.
With this knowledge of the types of ants in Oregon, we can continue to learn more about their roles in the ecosystem and how to keep them from becoming a nuisance.