17 Different Types of Ants in Tennessee

Different Types of Ants in Tennessee
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Tennessee is home to a wide variety of ant species, from common household ants to more obscure species.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just curious about the different types of ants in Tennessee homes, this blog post is for you! 

Here we will look at the most commonly encountered ant species in Tennessee, their characteristics, and where they are commonly found.

Read on to learn more about the fascinating and diverse world of ants in Tennessee.

1. Reddish Carpenter Ant

The reddish carpenter ant is a species of ant native to Tennessee. It is considered a major pest because it can cause significant damage to structures and crops.

Reddish carpenter ants are red or brown in color and range from 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 inch in length. They nest in wood, including trees, stumps, and structural timbers in buildings. 

These types of ants in Tennessee tend to feed on other insects, honeydew, and sugary foods like fruits and vegetables. When disturbed, they emit an unpleasant smell.

To prevent them from invading your home, you should seal off any cracks and crevices in the walls and foundation of your home.

If you find signs of an infestation, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service as soon as possible.

2. Acrobat Ant

The acrobat ant (Crematogaster spp.) is a common ant found throughout Tennessee. These ants are small, typically ranging from 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length.

They are dark brown or black with light-colored abdomens and an abdomen that curves over their back.

The acrobat ant gets its name from its tendency to raise the abdomen in an arched posture when disturbed. 

Acrobat ants feed on honeydew produced by aphids and other insects and various plant secretions.

In homes, they feed on sweet materials such as syrup and honey and can be a nuisance indoors. 

Outdoors and acrobat ants nest in rotten wood, stumps, and logs, but they can also make their way into structures through cracks and crevices in search of food.

Controlling acrobat ants involves locating and eliminating their nest sites and using ant baits to control them indoors.

3. Hairless Rover Ant

The Hairless Rover Ant is a species of ant commonly found in Tennessee. It is a small ant with a black or brown body and a reddish-brown head and thorax.

The Hairless Rover Ant is a solitary forager and is known to inhabit areas around homes, as well as forests, farms, and gardens.

These types of ants in Tennessee are named after their hairless body, which makes them easily identifiable. The Hairless Rover Ant is an omnivore, consuming plant material and other insects.

These ants have been known to consume honeydew excreted by aphids and scale insects. When disturbed, the Hairless Rover Ant can release a strong odor from its mandibular glands.

This odor is not pleasant to humans and can linger for some time in the air. These ants may also bite if provoked, but their bites are not typically dangerous to humans. 

The Hairless Rover Ant is an important part of Tennessee’s ecosystem, as it helps control other insect populations. As such, these ants should be left undisturbed whenever possible.

4. Pitch-Black Collared Ant

The pitch-black collared ant, also known as the velvet ant or the cow killer ant, is a species of ground-dwelling ant found in Tennessee.

As its name implies, this ant has a black body with a bright red or orange collar around its neck. 

These types of ants in Tennessee are nocturnal and feed on other insects, larvae, and honeydew produced by other bugs. They are solitary creatures and can be seen foraging alone at night. 

Though their sting is not particularly strong, it can be painful and is usually followed by swelling and itching.

To avoid these ants, make sure to keep your yard clean of debris, which they may use to hide during the day.

5. Mossy Thin Ant

The Mossy Thin Ant is a small species of ant found throughout Tennessee. They are identified by their dark, olive-green color, which has a distinctive mossy texture.

They grow up to 1/16 of an inch in length and have a very small head and abdomen compared to other ants.

These ants are not particularly aggressive and often can be found in soil or leaf litter near areas with ample moisture. 

They are also attracted to sugary foods and often enter homes searching for food.

While they may not pose a major threat to humans, they can become a nuisance when they become too numerous in and around your home.

Controlling the population of Mossy Thin Ants can be done by removing any excess moisture, sealing any cracks or crevices where they may enter, and using baits or insecticides if needed.

6. Turfgrass Ant

The turfgrass ant (Aphaenogaster rudis) is a species of ant that is common throughout Tennessee.

This ant has a dark brown to black body with long legs and antennae. It can be found in lawns, fields, and gardens and often nests in open areas like soil cracks or underneath stones. 

The turfgrass ant feeds on various plant materials, such as grass and small insects. It also has a habit of gathering debris and using it to construct its nest. Its colonies can range from just a few ants to thousands of ants. 

These types of ants in Tennessee are considered beneficial to gardens and lawns as they help aerate the soil and reduce insect damage.

In addition, they can help deter larger pests such as rodents. If you find turfgrass ants in your yard, it is best to leave them alone, as they can benefit your garden or lawn.

7. Field Ant

Field ants are among the types of ants in Tennessee. They can be identified by their dark brown bodies, long antennae, and long legs.

Field ants usually measure up to 2.5 millimeters in length and are typically found living in open grassy areas, such as lawns, parks, fields, or even gardens. These ants feed on nectar, plant sap, and other insects.

Field ants typically form nests in the soil, with multiple large mounds that may reach up to 15 centimeters in height. These nests often contain hundreds of individual ants.

The ants form tunnels beneath the soil, which they use to travel between different food sources.

In addition to feeding on nectar and plant sap, field ants also hunt for small prey like aphids and caterpillars.

Field ants are considered beneficial insects because they help to control pests like aphids and other insect populations.

They can also benefit gardens, as their tunnels aerate the soil and allow for better drainage.

However, field ants can become a nuisance if their nests are located near homes or outdoor spaces.

If their nests become too large or start damaging nearby structures, it is important to take steps to remove them from the area safely.

8. Ponerine Ant

The ponerine ant is a species of ant found in Tennessee and is commonly referred to as the “common soil ant.” It is a dark-brown ant that is about 5-6mm long and has a stout body.

These ants live in colonies beneath the soil, where they feed on dead insects, seeds, honeydew, and other types of food. They are not aggressive but can become defensive if their nest is disturbed.

Ponerine ants are common in Tennessee, so it is important to be aware of them and take precautions when dealing with them. 

If you find a ponerine ant infestation on your property, it is best to contact a professional pest control service to help you get rid of them. They can help identify the ant and determine the best course of action for removal.

While these ants are not considered dangerous, they can still cause annoyance or damage if not properly taken care of.

9. Pyramid Ant

The pyramid ant (Dorymyrmex pyramicus) is a species of ant found in Tennessee. These ants are medium-sized, dark brown to black in color, and have a uniquely shaped head resembling a pyramid.

The pyramid ant lives in colonies of up to thousands of individuals and is often found in sandy areas such as golf courses, parks, and roadsides. 

The ants will feed on small insects, the larvae of larger insects, and decaying plant material. They are also known to be attracted to sugar sources such as spilled soda and fruit juice.

Pyramid ants can be a nuisance in yards and gardens, as they excavate small mounds of soil around the base of plants.

The best way to control these ants is to remove their food sources and disrupt their trails with strong water jets.

10. Forest Floor Yellow Acrobat Ant

The Forest Floor Yellow Acrobat Ant (Crematogaster ashmeadi) is one of the most common types of ants in Tennessee. It is usually found in various habitats, from forests and parks to urban areas.

These ants are typically yellowish-brown in color, with two reddish-brown stripes down their abdomen. They are generally 1/8 inch long, making them easy to spot. 

Since Acrobat Ants nest in wood, they can be a nuisance to homeowners if their nests are located near the foundation of a house.

To prevent an infestation, it’s important to keep decaying wood away from your home and inspect any logs or stones near the house for signs of ant activity.

If you find an infestation, you should contact a pest control expert to help eliminate the ants.

11. Ferruginous Carpenter Ant

The ferruginous carpenter ant is one of the types of ants in Tennessee. This species is recognized by its rusty red coloring.

It is slightly larger than other carpenter ant species, ranging from 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch in length. 

Unlike some other carpenter ants, the ferruginous carpenter ant is a solitary species. They don’t form colonies like other ants and are more likely to be found alone or in small groups.

They can often be found near wood infested by termites, as they feed on the fungus associated with termites.

These ants can cause structural damage to buildings due to their habit of excavating wood for nesting sites. It is important to eliminate food sources and nesting sites to control these ants.

You can do this by sealing any cracks or crevices in the structure and removing wood debris from your home. Pesticides may also be necessary to control a large infestation.

12. Little Black Ant

The little black ant, or Monomorium minimum, is a species of ant found in Tennessee and across the US.

These small ants typically measure between 1/16-1/8 of an inch long and are characterized by their dark brown-to-black coloration.

They prefer living outdoors and can be found in areas such as around windows, along foundations, and under stones or wood piles.

Little black ants are omnivorous and feed on the plant, animal matter, and sweet liquids. Though they do not pose any serious threat to humans, they can become quite a nuisance if left untreated.

To control these ants, homeowners should make sure to caulk any cracks or crevices around the home that could serve as entry points.

Additionally, insecticides or ant baits specifically targeted at little black ants are recommended.

13. Hairy Curltail Ant

Hairy curtail ants are a small species of ant that is found in Tennessee. These ants get their name from the two distinctive tails that protrude from their abdomen.

Their coloring varies between black and reddish-brown, and they typically measure around 4 to 6 millimeters in length.

Hairy curtail ants are known for their nest-building behavior. They usually nest in moist soils and prefer building their nests near food and water sources.

They also have an affinity for decaying organic matter and often build their nests near mulch piles, leaf litter, or logs.

Hairy curtail ants are omnivorous, meaning they eat plant and animal matter. They feed on insects, honeydew, nectar, and plant juices.

In addition to these foods, they also scavenge for dead insects and other organic matter.

These types of ants in Tennessee are considered beneficial insects because they help break down organic matter and aerate the soil. They can also help control pest insect populations.

However, if their numbers become too high, they can become a nuisance by invading homes and gardens.

14. Toothed Big-headed Ant

The Toothed Big-headed Ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) is a species of ant native to Tennessee.

It is a reddish-brown ant with a large head and long antennae. The body is covered in short, yellowish-brown hairs. 

The Toothed Big-headed Ant typically feeds on seeds but can also feed on other insects. Its habitat includes fields, roadsides, and gardens, where it nests in the soil or under stones.

Colonies of this ant are typically small and composed of only a few hundred workers. The Toothed Big-headed Ant is one of the most common types of ants in Tennessee.

15. Japanese Pavement Ant

The Japanese pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum) is a species of ant that is native to Japan.

It is an aggressive, invasive ant species that has been introduced to other parts of the world, including Tennessee. It is a small, black ant with pale legs and antennae and may grow up to 1/8th inch in length.

The Japanese pavement ant nests in the soil or under stones and will enter buildings through cracks and crevices.

They feed on various food sources, including sweet substances, insects, and other small invertebrates. Indoors, they are known to be attracted to pet food and sweets.

To control a Japanese pavement ant infestation, it is important to identify the nest site and eliminate it if possible.

In addition, you can use insecticide sprays to target the nest sites or perimeter sprays to create a barrier against these ants.

Baits can also be used to effectively control Japanese pavement ants by eliminating the entire colony, including the queen.

16. Robust Crazy Ant

The robust crazy ant, also known as the Caribbean crazy ant, is a species of ant native to the Caribbean islands and Central America.

It is one of the most invasive ant species in the United States, with a population estimated at more than 2 billion.

Robust crazy ants have a light reddish brown color and measure approximately 1/8 inch in length.

They are incredibly fast and can quickly cover large areas of ground. They prefer to nest in warm, moist areas near drains, under mulch, and in leaf litter.

Robust crazy ants are omnivorous, meaning they eat plant matter and small insects or larvae. They also feed on sweet foods, including juices, honeydew from aphids, and food scraps.

Unlike many other types of ants in Tennessee, robust crazy ants do not form colonies.

Instead, they form large swarms of workers that travel together, searching for food and new nesting sites. This makes them very difficult to control, as their nests can spread over large areas.

If you suspect an infestation of robust crazy ants on your property, it’s important to contact a professional pest control company for help.

A professional can identify the species of ant and suggest the best action to eliminate the infestation.

17. Vampire Ant

The Vampire ant is one of the most interesting types of ants in Tennessee. It is an unusual species as it displays an unusual behavior that has led to its name.

Unlike other species of ants, the Vampire ant feeds on the blood of other insects and arthropods.

This is a very unusual behavior among ants and makes the Vampire ant stand out from the rest.

The Vampire ant is usually black in color and can grow up to 4mm in length. They are omnivorous and feed on both plant matter and animals.

The Vampire ant has unique mandibles that can puncture the skin of other insects, allowing them to feed on their blood. 

Vampire ants are found in woodlands and grasslands across Tennessee. They make their nests in soil, where they are safe from predators.

To build their nests, the Vampire ants need moisture and warmth, making them common in summer’s warmer months. 

The Vampire ant is an important part of the ecosystem in Tennessee, as it helps control the population of other species of insects.

Despite its unique behavior, the Vampire ant poses no harm to humans and is not a pest.


Tennessee has a wide variety of ants, all of which can be identified by their size, color, and habits. Some of the most common ant species you may encounter in Tennessee.

While many of these species are not dangerous to humans, it is important to take precautions when dealing with any ant infestation.

Suppose you think you have an ant infestation in your home or office. In that case, it is important to call a professional exterminator to help ensure that the problem is properly taken care of.

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