Black ants can be found all over the world living indoors and outdoors and surviving on many different diets. Each type of black ant is just a little bit different, with some being easier to get rid of than others and some having a completely different diet. Many areas have more than one type of black ant.
Little black ants, as they are commonly known, are scientifically known as monomorium miniumum. These black ants are small and are usually a dark brown or black. They are common throughout the United States. The ants are meat eaters, although if meat is not available they will eat fruits and grains as well.
Little black ants usually live in large colonies that have as many as two queens. The colonies are at their height from June to August, when mating occurs. Males and females have wings, but males die off young, and the females shed their wings. The colonies can be found in logs, cracks in cement, open areas and lawns.
Black ants are found in many regions of the world but more specifically throughout North America and Europe. The colonies will be in the thousands during the mating season, which usually takes place in the late summer or early fall. The ants are about 1.6 millimeters long, although the queens are about twice this size. They are black in color, although some are closer to brown than black. The black ants are generally found in sandy soil, and they will feed on just about anything they can find such as seeds, nectar, processed foods, flies, small insects and animals.
Carpenter ants are one of the largest species of ants, measuring from ¼ to 3/8 inch long. Most carpenter ants are black, though some species have a bit of brown, red, or yellow coloring in addition to the dominant black color.
These ants can live inside and outside, and they usually can be found around decaying wood. A sign of a carpenter ant infestation is sawdust-like waste around rotting or hollowed out wood. The ants do not actually eat the wood, but they feed on just about anything else, especially items that are sweet, although they favor meat.
The rate of reproduction depends on the specific species, the age of the colony and how many queens the colony has. Generally, a queen lays 15 to 20 eggs a year and 30 eggs the second year. The eggs complete their life cycles in 60 days, with the worker ants living for up to seven years and the queens of some species living more than 25 years. Some colonieshave tens of thousands of ants while others have hundreds or thousands.
Black ants of all sizes and species are often seen as pests, but they have their benefits, too. Ants are usually only present where there are other insects. While black ants of all varieties feed on human food, they all feed on other insects, dead and alive. Where you see black ants you see insect populations being controlled naturally. While you don’t want black ants in your house or yard, don’t be too quick to remove them if they are not causing any damage and are not getting in your way, they could be keeping more bothersome insects away from you and your home.