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What Does an Ant Look Like?

Many different ants live in the the Illinois/Wisconsin area. Ants have a body with three segments, a set of antennae, six jointed legs, and a tough exoskeleton. While these are common traits ants share, each species has unique characteristics that can help make it easier to tell them apart.

To properly deal with an infestation, it’s helpful to know what specific pest is causing the problem. This photo gallery can help you determine what kind of ant infestation you have in your home or business so that you can safely remove them and prevent future ant issues.

Odorous House Ant

Image of Odorous House Ant

Photo of odorous house ant
Illustration of Odorous House Ant

Sketch of an odorous house ant

Odorous house ants range in color from brown to black. Each of their two antennae has twelve segments with no clubs on the ends. Workers are between one-sixteenth and one-eighth of an inch long. Castes that mate are slightly larger and have wings.

Pavement Ant

A pavement ant is on the move, a common pest in Illinois homes

Illustration of a pavement ant

Worker pavement ants are similar in size to odorous house ants. Members of this caste also have a stinger and two spines on their backs just before their abdomens. Winged swarmers can be up to twice as long as the workers. Each ant is dark brown or black with parallel lines on its head and thorax.

Argentine Ant

Picture of Argentine Ant

Side view of an Argentine ant

This type of ant is tiny, with the larger females only measuring up to one-fifth of an inch. Argentine ants have thin legs, a short thorax, and flatter heads than other species. While both male and female breeders have wings, females lose theirs after mating.

Illustration of Argentine Ant

Sketch of an Argentine ant

Illustration of Argentine Ant

Side view image of an Argentine ant

Picture of Argentine Ant

Top view image of an Argentine ant

Most castes of this kind of ant are dull brown, but reproductive adults are sometimes darker, as seen in these pictures.

Carpenter Ant

Picture of Carpenter Ant

Side view of a carpenter ant

Illustration of Carpenter Ant

Up-close image of a carpenter ant

Illustration of Carpenter Ant

Sketch image of a carpenter ant

Carpenter ants are one of the larger species in the Mid-Atlantic. Winged reproductive types may be up to three-quarters of an inch in length. Workers, on the other hand, lack wings and grow to just under half an inch. As these ant photos show, their bodies are slightly shiny and dark brown or black.

Image of Carpenter Ant

Profile photo of a carpenter ant

Image of Carpenter Ant

Top view image of a carpenter ant

Both carpenter ants and termites live in colonies and tunnel through wood, so people often confuse the two. These photos show the ant’s narrow waist between the abdomen and thorax, as well as its elbowed antennae. Termites, by contrast, are oval with straight antennae.

Pharaoh Ant

Illustration of Pharaoh Ant

Drawing of a pharaoh ant

Pharaoh ants, sometimes lumped in with the more general “sugar ants,” are pale brown, but some also have a slight yellow tinge. Workers are typically around one-sixteenth of an inch while queens are over twice that size.

Harvester Ant

Illustration of a Harvester Ant

Illustration of a harvester ant

Image of Harvester Ant

Top view image of a harvester ant

As these harvester ant images show, these pests are a deep, rust-red color. Each insect has antennae made up of twelve segments each. Workers are between one-quarter to three-eighths of an inch. Soldiers, also known as major workers, have much larger heads than the others.

Acrobat Ant

Picture of Acrobat Ants Eating a Bug on a Leaf

Image of a Cluster of Acrobat Ants

Groups of acrobat ants

This species ranges in color from reddish-brown to darker brown or black. The abdomen of an acrobat ant looks like a heart, and each antenna has 11 main segments, along with three-segment clubs. Queens have wings which they will lose after mating and are five-sixteenths of an inch long. Workers are half that size or smaller.

Ghost Ant

Large Picture of Ghost Ant and Picture of Ghost Ants next to a Penny to Show Size Comparison

Ghost ants scaled to a penny for size

Picture of Three Ghost Ants

Picture of Three Ghost Ants

Image of a Cluster of Ghost Ants

Picture of a Group of Ghost Ants

Groups of ghost ants

Importance of Ant Identification

Understanding which species of ant is in your home or business is the first step in finding a solution to your pest problem. Color, size, antennae appearance, and body shape are often the easiest characteristics to use for identification. For more help determining what type of ants you have or addressing an active infestation, contact the experts at Schopen Pest Solutions.