What are all of the different types of ants?


There are many different types of ants. Because there are so many species, some experts classify them based on their behavior. There are two main groups of ants found in and around the home: nuisance ants and mound-building ants. Nuisance ants often form trails to and from food or water. If you are trying to treat these particular ants, it’s important to destroy their trail as well as the nest (which is often found outdoors). Mound-building ants mostly live outdoors, and their nests can be unsightly to your landscaping. In addition, there are two types of ants that are unique enough to get their own categories: carpenter ants and fire ants.

What do ants look like?

Distinguishing Features

Ants come in all sizes and colors. They look like a wingless wasp, but very few have stingers (with the exception of the fire ant). If you look closely at the body of an ant, you will also see one or two humps on the slim area between the last two segments. Ants have these humps, while wasps do not. Also, the antennae of ants are kinked or “elbowed.”

Meet the Ants

Nuisance Ants

Nuisance ants nest indoors or outdoors. Often their colonies are built close to the home and are hidden in the soil, under objects on the ground, or in the home itself. When they come inside, you can usually spot them following an “invisible trail” towards a source of food or water. These ants can infest and contaminate your food. Learn more about nuisance ants.

Mound-building Ants

Mound-building ants that you see outside may also come inside in search of food and water. These ants build mounds in lawns, mulch areas, and along sidewalks, patios, decks, and the foundation. Outdoor treatments are key for controlling mound-building ants. Learn more about mound-building ants.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants nest in walls, attics, and water-damaged or rotting wood. Common outdoor nests are found in sheds, firewood, decks, tree trunks, gutters, and soffits. They don’t eat wood, but they do nest and tunnel in wood, which leads to more decay. Carpenter ants may bite if you try to pick them up, but their bites are not as painful as the sting of the fire ant. Learn more about carpenter ants.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are a special type of mound-building ant that usually nests outdoors. They bite, but they also have a stinger on their abdomen that they use to inject venom into anything that disturbs them or their nest. Their stings can be quite painful and multiple stings may require medical attention. Learn more about fire ants.

Expert Tip

After ants feed on Raid® Ant Baits, they return to their nest and transfer the bait to the queen and others, thereby killing the entire colony. So if you see ants crawling around the bait, don’t kill them before they reach the colony! Give the product time to work its magic. Read the product labels to determine which baits are best for you. Note that Raid® Ant Baits do not treat fire ants.

Still Feeling Antsy?
Use our bug ID tool to find out which type of ant you’re dealing with.