Field Ant

Category:

Actual Size: 4 to 8 mm

Characteristics: Large; black, brown, or yellowish to bicolored red and black 

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Favors outdoor nests in decayed logs or soil. Nests located in lawns, gardens, fields, and foundations of homes and buildings

Habits:

  • Feeds exclusively on outdoor food resources.
  • Sometimes people mistake field ant mounds for fire ant activity.
  • Rarely found indoors, but common in areas surrounding homes and other buildings.

Field Ants in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

Field ants are common in the El Paso and Anthony NM areas and get their name for their preference of nesting out in the open. Nests are usually located in lawns, gardens, fields, and parks. Field ants build large mounds in open areas, with sizes reaching up to three or four feet wide and up to two feet tall. Not known for invading homes like most household ants, field ants are common on the exterior of homes and buildings. Most field ants cause issues for homeowners when they nest near masonry walls and concrete sidewalks, destroying the appearance of lawns.

Field Ant Habitat

Sometimes referred to as “thatching” or “mound” ants, field ants nest in soil or decayed logs. Nests are composed of small twigs, grass stems, leaves, or pine needles. Preferred nesting sites include locations near shrubs, rocks, trees, sidewalks, fences, and foundations of structures. Unlike most ant pests, these ants do not venture indoors for food. They feed exclusively on outdoor food resources, such as live and dead insects and the honeydew produced by aphids.

Field Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Field ants do not sting but will bite if disturbed. If nests are disturbed or stood upon, ants will swarm out of the nest, attacking and biting the intruder. Their bite is usually painful, with some species spraying formic acid into the wound, which can sting. While initially painful, the sensation subsides, and fortunately, field ant bites do not have any long-term consequences. The large mounds that field ants build can ruin the look of lawns, making lawn mowing difficult, and interfering with the growth of garden plants and woody ornamentals. If a field ant infestation is suspected, it is best to consult a professional ant exterminator.