Ants

Identification: If the information on these pages does not afford you a satisfactory or confident ID determination, don’t hesitate to make use of our Insect Diagnostic Lab.  You can either send us a specimen, or email us a really good, clear, closeup photo (or photos) as a starting point.  Depending on the particular ant in question, sometimes a really good photo is adequate.  Visit our Submitting Insect Specimens page for further instructions.

Photos of Some Ants that are found in Maine:

Additional Photos and Information:

  • Allegheny Mound Ants (Formica exsectoides) — Beneficial to humans in some situations.
  • Carpenter Ants (genus Camponotus) — Always check firewood for these ants before bringing it indoors.
  • Citranella Ants — Ants in the genus Lasius are collectively referred to as Citranella Ants or sometimes Lemon Ants:
    • Cornfield Ants (Lasius neoniger) — Rarely nest in homes but they are very common and abundant outdoors.
    • Larger Yellow Ants (Lasius interjectus) (University of Minnesota Extension) — Easily confused with Pavement ants and Cornfield ants, Larger Yellow ants are quite often encountered by Maine homeowners in the Fall, when they swarm. These ants like to colonize in the soil adjacent to a home’s foundation, so are often encountered in basements, especially along cracks or holes in the foundation or floor where moisture and/or rotten wood is also present.
  • Pavement Ants (Tetramorium immigrans) — very common indoors and outdoors.
  • European Red Ants (includes photos) (Myrmica rubra) (invasive) The European Red Ant is also called the European Fire Ant; It is an invasive insect in Maine, increasing in its geographical range (particularly in coastal communities) and in its encounters with homeowners. However, these ants are only distantly related to the ‘true’ fire ants found in the southern U.S. and Latin America. See also: Bulletin #2551, European Fire Ant: Management for Homeowners and Bacteria from nematodes could be used to kill fire ants, UMaine research reveals
  • Field Ants (Formica spp) (University of Wisconsin)
  • See also: Ants (University of Minnesota Extension) and Flying Ants (Colorado State University Extension)

Additional Ant Possibilities:

(but these would generally not be encountered as often by most people in Maine):


Finally, be aware of the following two points:

  • People in Maine often mistake winged ants–especially if they are swarming–with winged termites. Due to our generally long and cold winters, however, termites have been quite rare in Maine, with only isolated cases that show up from time to time in some areas (primarily southern and coastal areas).  Cornell University has a fact sheet with a helpful image that illustrates nicely the difference between the overall body design of a termite versus an ant: Comparison of a termite versus an ant (scroll to page 2)
  • Although it is true that many ants are pests and/or a nuisance from a human perspective, ants are also beneficial in many ways, as discussed in this University of Iowa publication entitled Ants in Lawns.