Bigheaded Ant


Actual Size: 1.5 to 4.5 mm

Characteristics: Range in color from dark brown through shades of red to light yellow. Workers have an unusually large, heart-shaped head.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Builds nests near water sources. Outdoors, nests are located beneath boards, stones, or at the base of shrubs. Indoors, will build nests in wall voids and insulation.


  • Feeds on sweets, live and dead insects.
  • Workers use their large jaws to crack seeds and other food for the colony.
  • Colonies can reach a tremendous size, with extended nests and multiple queens.

Bigheaded Ants in Knoxville TN

Bigheaded ants get their name from the large heads of their worker ants and can be found infesting homes across the Knoxville area. Known for making large nests in the sand throughout a lawn or landscape, bigheaded ants excavate soil, bringing it up through crevices in driveways, patios, and pavers on the exterior of homes. Most species build nests next to foundations where they construct mud tubes, which can be mistaken for subterranean termites.

Bigheaded Ant Habitat

Known for making large nests in the sand throughout the landscape, bigheaded ants excavate soil, then bring it up through cracks in sidewalks, patios, and pavers on the exterior of homes. Trails of foragers can often be observed along tree trunks, sometimes climbing into canopies of tall trees. Similar trails might be seen on the exterior walls of structures as ants climb into attics or other natural or artificial voids. Once inside, they forage into bathrooms, kitchens, around doors, and windows. They will also nest in leaf litter, firewood, fences, and walls.

Bigheaded Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Bigheaded ants do not generally bite unless disturbed, and even then, their bite is not painful. These ants are a nuisance as they forage for food, inside and outside of homes, leaving behind piles of debris and dirt. Infestations occur near structures, at the base of trees and shrubs, sidewalks, and driveways. Homeowners generally complain about finding hundreds of both live and dead ants. Unless the entire supercolony is treated, there is a high probability of reinfestation. If you suspect a bigheaded ant issue, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator.