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Big-Headed Ants

Danger/Damage

Big-Headed Ants do not sting and are not known to bite unless their nests are threatened. Even then, their bites are not painful. Additionally, big-headed ants are not known to cause any structural damage, however, they have been known to occasionally cause minor damage to manicured lawns.


Did you Know?

Big-headed ants are soil-nesting ants that are sometimes confused with subterranean termites because they may create debris-covered foraging tubes that are similar but much more fragile than termite tubes.


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Big-headed ant colonies include two distinct sizes of worker ants. Major workers measure 3-4 mm in length with disproportionally large heads (the feature these ants are named for). Alternatively, minor workers are about 2mm long and are regularly proportioned. Major workers commonly act as both foragers and soldiers for their colonies. Their large jaws are adept at cracking seeds and other foods for their fellow colony members and dismantling enemy or prey insects. Major and minor workers range in color from yellowish to dark reddish-brown.


Found in sub-tropical regions throughout the world. Big-Headed Ants nest in the soil around structures, under patio stones, rotting wood, tree stumps, and piles of debris on the ground. They commonly nest outdoors but changing environmental conditions may cause chronic indoor infestations.


Similar to other ant species, the big-headed ant undergoes complete metamorphosis. They are known to produce broods year-round within nests that contain multiple fertile queens, reportedly producing upwards of 292 eggs per month. Depending on the region, these ants may reproduce through budding or nuptial flight. The average life cycle of a single big-headed ant (egg to adult) ranges from 46-81 days. The typical life span of a worker ant being roughly 80 days.


How do l recognize a big-headed ant?

Big-headed ant colonies include two distinct sizes of worker ants. Major workers measure 3-4 mm in length with disproportionally large heads (the feature these ants are named for). Alternatively, minor workers are about 2mm long and are regularly proportioned. Major and minor workers range in color from yellowish to dark reddish-brown.

Are big-headed ants hazardous to humans?

The big-headed ant does not sting or cause structural damage and is not known to bite unless its nest is disturbed.

How did I get big-headed ants?

Big-headed ants are generally found nesting in disturbed soil under patios and yard debris. Once established, big-headed ants climb up the sides of homes through cracks or open windows. You will commonly see them in kitchens where food sources are plentiful.

What can I do to prevent a big-headed ant infestation?

To prevent an infestation of big-headed ants, eliminate piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as nesting sites. Keep tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent them from touching your house or building and seal as many cracks in the building’s exterior as possible.

How do I remove a big-headed ant infestation?

Most big-headed ant colonies are relatively small and easy to treat but treating infestations with multiple colonies requires experience. Call Abell Pest Control: our skilled technicians have the necessary tools to remove an infestation.


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