Ant identification: August 2012 Archives


We live in San Jose, CA.

We have been reading your blog for sometime.
We are facing the ants problem.
attached pictures were just taken at a corner of my dinning room.
Hope you would help.

some ants have visited our house last year around October by crawling in from the windows to the bedrooms and kitchen.
the situation was under control after using the Terro ants bait stations; we saw less ants around.

this year, we started to see a few ants visit our kitchen counter in May.
Without knowing where their nest was, we just killed them when we saw them around.
Fortunately, they had not discovered our food cabinet yet and we have put all food in airtight container already.
Until one morning in early July, the troop found some leftover on the kitchen counter and hunderds of them paraded to the food source.
Knowing there was no use to just kill the workers, we chose to use the Terro ants bait stations again and let them enjoy the sweet fluid.
By this incident, we noticed from they came in from the tiny holes at the corner in the dinning room.
After a day, we decided to get the Terro liquid ants killer and starts to place several stations in front of the little holes as shown in the pictures right in front from where they come out.

After feeding them Terro for more than a month, they are still very active.
Hunderd of them coming out to enjoy Terro everyday.
In a hot day, which they are more active, they consumer twelve to fifteen drops of terro only within a morning and a bit less at night.
we have used up around half a ounce in the past month.

We do not want to spray pesticide inside the house.
However, sprinkle baby powder on the ant trails means asking them to walk in the walls.
and they also find a NEW way to crawl in the kitchen counter.
I need to watch carely when I prepare dinner, as they pop up all the time!

We wish to get the lemon oil or orange oil or Orange Guard from the neighbourhood stores but not successful.

Yesterday, I have lost my control as I see them again on my kitchen counter (on which I sprinkle baby powder on the side) but they finally found the opening to crawl in.

My husband bought a Hot Shot Natural with lemongrass oil and start to wipe in the ant trail.
This morning, we find less ants come out fromt the hole, while we are still placing few ant bait station in front the hole.
but the foreager still try their best to searching around.
We have consider to fill the holes, but we are afraid they will search a new opening that might be in our bedroom.

would you give us some suggestions:

1. would you please help to identify the type ants from the attached pictures? are they Argentine ants?
2. what do you suggest us to do now.

thank you very much!


from San Jose Bay Area, CA




Dear Emmy,

Thank you for the wealth of information, and I'm sorry your home is infested! Indeed, one of our experts Dr. James Trager has confirmed that these are the Argentine ant Linepithema humile, which is the most common ant in the Bay area. If you want to read more about Argentine ants, please see a few of our other posts here, here, or here.

In terms of solving your infestation problem, we get this request fairly often, so we actually have a pretty wide literature on the subject. This post is the most detailed, but you can also refer to here or here.

Good luck on getting rid of the Argentine ants!


Max Winston & the AntAsk Team

I live in Raleigh North Carolina and I was stung (felt like an intense sting) by a dark colored ant on my pinkie finger as I was getting into my car. The car was parked in a large shopping mall parking lot but our spot was located at the end of a row, under a tree. I did not see where the ant came from or how it got onto my finger, it was probably close to 1 cm in length and had a wider body - vs the small thin bodies of the ants I have seen around the house and yard. It did not have a smooth shiny body like I picture a carpenter ant to have and it almost seemed like it could have been hairy. The bite was painful and it felt like a sting that intensified the longer the ant was on my finger. I kept shaking my hand but the ant wouldn't come off... (of course the intake nurse at the ER said "this is when you use your other hand to swat it away" but I don't know why I didn't do that) The pain did not go away after the ant was off of me and 1 hour later I felt sunburned and my hands, feet and face were red and hot and my eyes were bloodshot. I was sweating and my heart was racing. I then developed weakness and had difficulty seeing, as it looked like I was looking directly into the sun. By the time I got to the emergency room my symptoms were starting to lessen and I was ultimately told that I must have had a toxic response to the bite. I was given an antihistamine but there was no sign of a bite mark on my finger. ( if I didn't have a witness, I probably would have sounded crazy) The next day I had a raised hard bump on my finger at the site of the bite/sting and the entire finger was swollen for 2 days and itched for a few days more. 2 weeks later I can still see the bite mark but the symptoms are otherwise gone.

Any idea of what bit me? I have looked up fire ants and this ant was bigger than the description of the fire ants I have read about/seen online

Any insight would be appreciated


Dear Abby,

We are sorry to hear that you were stung by an ant and had such a terrible reaction. Although it is difficult to be sure, it sounds like the ant you may have been stung by is the Asian needle ant, Brachyponera chinensis.

The School of Ants has a very nice summary of this species on their website, including information about the painful sting:

Best regards,
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

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