Little Black Ant


Actual Size: 1.5 to 2 mm

Characteristics: Dark brown to black; shiny appearance.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Prefers wooded habitats, near stumps, trees, piles of lumber, or bricks. Nest indoors in wall voids and cabinets and masonry.


  • Known to eliminate small red imported fire ant colonies.
  • Forages into homes from outdoors, nesting in cabinets, and wall voids.
  • Swarms are common from mid-to-late summer, as ants forage for food around sidewalks and trails.

Little Black Ants in Knoxville TN

In the Knoxville area, the little black ant is a common structural pest. Little black ants are highly adaptable and are not usually associated with indoor colonies. Normally, the ants are nesting outdoors and make their way inside homes or structures in search of food. Omnivores, little black ants eat both plant and animal foods. They feed on all types of foods including sweets, meats, grease, insects, and even feed on bird feces. Stubborn pests, little black ants can be difficult to eliminate.

Little Black Ant Habitat

Most of the time, little black ant infestations start outdoors and can be traced back to mulch, stones, a stump, tree, log, fence, or pile of lumber or bricks. Indoors, little black ant colonies will nest in wall voids and cabinets, as well as, within and behind foundations and brick or stone veneer. At high populations, little black ants may spread throughout a structure, invading nearly every crack and crevice. Observing little black ants inside homes may signal a larger infestation outdoors or within the structure.

Little Black Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although little black ants have a stinger, it is generally too small to do any damage. However, they can become a considerable annoyance when they invade a home in large numbers. Tiny bullies, little black ants have been known to wipe out small red imported fire ant colonies. While nesting outdoors is preferred, their small size allows them to gain access under window sills, beneath carpets and floorboards, and any crevice inside your home. If a little black ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to consult a licensed ant exterminator.