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The Difference Between Little Black Ants & Carpenter Ants In Nashville

First, it is important to point out that little black ants are an ant species in Nashville, not just a description of little ants that just happen to be black. Little black ants are known scientifically as monomorium minimum. Workers are 1/16 of an inch long, and all the same size. When ant workers are all the same size, they are referred to as monomorphic. Carpenter ants are between 1/4 and ⅝ inches long and considered to be polymorphic—which means they are not the same size. There are a few carpenter ant species. The one that you might consider to be a little black ant is the species camponotus pennsylvanicus—referred to commonly as the black carpenter ants. But, they're not actually little black ants, as ants go. They're actually the biggest black ants you'll see in your Nashville yard. This can help you with identifying these ants when they appear. And you definitely want to be able to identify black carpenter ants because, as you probably know, they damage homes and businesses in Nashville. This is a key difference between the two. This is where we are going to start our conversation today.

carpenter ant infestation

Big Black Ants Can Damage Your Home

When you see black ants that are larger than ¼ of an inch in length, it is a good idea to have a professional take a look. If left untreated, carpenter ants can damage your property, over time. In the United States, carpenter ants cost property owners hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

There are two ways carpenter ants are likely to get into the wood of your home. They will tunnel into wood that is decaying or aging, or they will enter your home through gaps and cracks in your exterior and find suitable wood for nesting on the inside of your home. While carpenter ants have a preference for tunneling through wood that has been softened by decay or age, they can also damage new timbers in a home.

It Stinks To Have Little Black Ants

These ants can stink—not just figuratively, but also literally. If you step on little black ants, you may notice an unpleasant aroma. Some describe this aroma as rotting coconut. Another ant that has a rotting coconut scent is known as the odorous house ant. Not only do they share this stinky characteristic, but odorous house ants are another ant species that can be black. But usually they are brown or dark brown. The big difference is their size. Little black ants are little. Odorous house ants are ⅛ of an inch long. We point out odorous house ants because it is important to understand that there are other "little black ants" that can make identification even more difficult. The bottom line is, if you crush a few ants and smell a bad odor, you can rule out carpenter ants. It doesn't stink to have carpenter ants—at least, not literally.

Little Black Ants Are Little Black Pests

The key issue with little black ants is that they can get into Nashville homes and get into stored foods. This can make them frustrating to deal with. Fortunately, they're not known to spread diseases and they are only considered a minor threat for stomach illness. If they get into your food, they're mostly going to cause contamination simply because it's gross to find ants in your food.

Winged Black Ants

When an ant nest matures, it begins to produce male and female reproductives. These ants are often twice as large as the workers. Keep this in mind, as little black ants or odorous house ants might be confused for carpenter ants because of their large size. An odorous house ant can be as much as ¼ of an inch long, which is the size of minor workers in a carpenter ant colony. If you see winged carpenter ants, you shouldn't have any trouble identifying them. They can be more than an inch long. That is definitely big enough to realize you're not looking at a "little" black ant.

What To Do About Black Ants

Whether you have carpenter ants in Nashville, little black ants, or some other type of ants, the best decision you can make for your health and your property is to invest in perimeter pest control. When you have routine treatments and pest maintenance around your home, you can mitigate many threats that ants and other pests can present.


Nashville Pest Control

At All-American Pest Control, we offer Perimeter Plus pest control in Nashville to give residents coverage for over 47 common Tennessee pests, including several ant species. If you are curious how this service works, or you'd like to request a service visit, reach out to us. We're here to guide you in selecting the right pest control options for your home and for your family.


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