How To Identify Ants

Although there are over 100 species of ants in Canada, only 7 are known to cause problems. It’s important to know which ant is causing your ant problem because they’re not all controlled the same way. 

 

What do carpenter ants look like?

Carpenter ants are larger than most ants in Canada. Key characteristics:

  • Size: 6. to 25 mm or 3/8 to 1 inch
  • Colour range: reddish brown to brownish black; sometimes a mix of both
  • Distinguishing feature: The ant's head is heart-shaped compared to the circular heads of most ants.

Learn more about identifying carpenter ants

 

What do pavement ants look like?

Pavement ants have key characteristics:

  • Size: 2.5 to 3 mm or 1/8 inch
  • Colour range: dark brown to black
  • Distinguishing features: legs typically are lighter in colour; the head and thorax (upper body) have visible grooves; the thorax has a single pair of spines.

Learn more about identifying pavement ants

 

What do thief ants look like?

The thief ant is one of the smallest pest ants in Canada. It often is confused with the pharaoh ant, which is similar in size and colour. Key characteristics of the thief ant:

  • Size: 1.5 to 2.2 mm or about 1/16 inch
  • Colour range: yellow to light to dark brown
  • Distinguishing feature: the tip or club of its antenna has two segments, while the pharaoh ant’s antennal club has three segments

Learn more about identifying thief ants

 

What do odorous house ants look like?

Odorous house ants are uniform in shape and colour. Key characteristics:

  • Size: 2.4 to 3.3 mm or 1/16 to 1/8 inch
  • Colour range: brown to black
  • Distinguishing features: smooth, hairless body; emits a rotten coconut odor when crushed

Learn more about identifying odorous house ants

 

What do little black ants look like?

Little black ants are aptly named for their size and appearance. Key characteristics:

  • Size: 1.5 to 2.2 mm or about 1/16 inch
  • Colour range: dark brown to jet black
  • Distinguishing features: shiny appearance; noticeable foraging trails

Learn more about identifying little black ants

 

What do European fire ants look like?

European fire ants are identified by their colour and ability to sting. Key characteristics:

  • Size: 4 to 5 mm or 3/16 inch
  • Colour range: light reddish brown
  • Distinguishing features: fine hair covers body; has a stinger and can sting repeatedly; stings create a burning sensation, hence the name ‘fire’ ant

Learn more about identifying European fire ants

 

Read More: 

About Ants

How to Inspect for Ants

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