Little Black Ants and What You Should Know and How to Get Rid of Them
As you may have guessed by their common name, Little Black ants (Monomorium minimum) are noticeably smaller than other ant species. These relatively harmless and common ants are little more than a nuisance, but you definitely don't want to see them crawling all over your sandwich!
How do You Identify Little Black Ants?
Little Black ants range from dark brown to black in color, and they also appear very shiny, measuring only about 1/16" long (queens are about twice the size, e.g. 1/8" in length).
Where Can You Find Little Black Ants?
Little Black ants are found throughout the United States, more highly concentrated in urban and industrial areas. Little black ants live both outdoors and indoors. They prefer to be outside in areas that are dark and protected. You can find them nesting in soil or under yard debris like rocks and logs. These pests use cracks and crevices to enter homes. If they make their way inside, they’ll look for undisturbed locations including behind baseboards and in wall voids.
What Do Little Black Ants Eat?
Little black ants have quite an appetite and they’ll eat just about anything they can find. Your leftovers can become their next meal, so don’t be surprised if you see ants marching on your kitchen counters and in your pantry. These ants eat meat, greasy food, seeds, insects, and sweets. They’re especially fond of honeydew, which aphids produce. Ants will actually protect aphids in order to harvest the honeydew they secrete. They aren’t afraid to pick a fight with other insects if their food source is threatened.
How Did Little Black Ants Get Into My Home?
Little black ants come indoors at times in search of food and moisture, and an infestation of these little pests is typically the result of improper food storage. Noticing these ants in your home may mean a larger outdoor infestation is at hand and located nearby, or possibly already inside.
Do You Have a Little Black Ant Infestation?
The main sign of an infestation is spotting ants. Even if their nest is outside, they could still be invading your house. These ants enter homes searching for food and water. It’s common to find their trails in kitchens and bathrooms. Check areas where moisture or food can accumulate including cabinets, sinks, and counters.
How Serious is a Little Black Ant Problem?
These ants often live in colonies with more than one queen. This can result in large colonies and infestations. They also leave pheromone trails, which can lead ants right to your home. You’ll likely see these trails on the walls of your home and sidewalks. These ants do have stingers, but because of how small they are, it won’t cause any harm to you. They will mostly get on your nerves and make you not want to eat your food if they succeed in getting to it in large numbers. Note that they do crawl over everything they can, making them carriers of bacteria.
How do You Get Rid of Little Black Ants?
When dealing with an ant problem, you need to eliminate the source of the infestation or these pests will keep coming back. Ant baits can help with this task.
Ant baits are designed to allow ants to eat the bait and carry it back to the nest. This helps ensure the entire colony will be eliminated and not just the ants you see. Our No Spill Ant Kill bait stations and our Ant Killer gel bait can be used outside and in your home, without the mess of other liquid baits. Place the bait near trailing ants. This will help to prevent them from finding an alternative food source. If you can find the nest, you can also place bait near it. Make sure to remove any other food sources, like crumbs, so the ants eat the bait. You’ll also want to avoid spraying insecticides with residual repellency near the bait. This will deter ants from going near the bait.
Sprays can be used indoors and outdoors, work well as a spot treatment for Fire ants you see, as well as for killing Little Black ants nesting in cracks, crevices, baseboards, and wall voids. Maggie's Farm Ant & Roach Killer spray not only kills Little Black ants, it also kills other species of ants (including Carpenter ants), bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, ticks, fleas, and a variety of other crawling pests. Keep in mind that sprays are not the best long-term solutions (as they only kill ants you can see, not the source of the problem, which is the colony). Sprays can help curb ant populations in the short-term, however.
Maggie’s Farm Yard Bug Spray can be used around the perimeter of your house to create a repellent barrier of protection by preventing Little Black ants from getting inside. It will also kill them on contact. Plan to repeat spraying about every 45 – 60 days.
Dusts also work well as an ant contact killer, if you can find the colony/nest. Try Maggie's Farm Spider & Insect Dust. For Little Black ants, CAREFULLY puff dust into wall voids where you might suspect a nest. Repeat a few days later if there is still ant activity.
How do You Prevent Little Black Ants?
The best way to keep little black ants away is to make your home as unwelcoming as possible. Here are a few tips to help you prevent an infestation.
- Keep your sink free of dirty dishes
- Keep your trash sealed and take it out regularly
- Sweep, mop, vacuum regularly
- Caulk and seal gaps, cracks, and holes in exterior walls to keep Little Black ants from getting inside.
- Outdoors, remove firewood and any other yard debris away from the side of your home.
- Landscaping mulch shouldn't be more than two inches thick, and should be kept at least 12 inches away from your home's foundation.
- Avoid sprinklers from spraying the side of your home/foundation whenever possible.
- Keep the lawn mowed and trees/shrubs trimmed away from touching the side of your home.
Treat plants for aphids regularly.
For Serious Infestations, Call a Professional
You may never need to call a pest control company to help you manage Little Black ants, but if you do get overrun by these little creatures at home, don't hesitate to call in the professionals.
For more general help with ants, read the following articles:
What are your Little Black ant control tips and tricks? Leave us a comment below!
For scientifically-tested, effective ant control in your home, yard, and garden that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.