If you have a specimen that you can provide, or a very good digital photo that you can email, don’t hesitate to make use of our Insect Diagnostic Lab for an identification (assuming our web site does not provide you with a satisfactory or confident determination/identification).

  • Carpenter Ants — Always check firewood for these ants before bringing it indoors.
  • Cornfield Ants — Rarely nest in homes but they are very common and abundant outdoors.
  • Pavement Ants — very common indoors and outdoors.
  • Larger Yellow Ants (University of Minnesota Extension) — Easily confused with Pavement 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.
  • 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.
  • Allegheny Mound Ants Beneficial in some situations (see note below).

Be Aware:

  • 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). The 2nd page of the following Cornell University fact sheet has 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
  • 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):

  • Acrobat Ant
  • Crazy Ant — quite rare in Maine
  • False Honey Ant
  • Pharaoh Ant (University of Minnesota Extension)
  • Lawn Ant — This ant nests in well drained, clay or sandy soil and makes the well-known small anthills with a central entrance. Workers are only about 1/4 inch long, yellowish in color, and are typically found in lawns, golf courses, pastures, and under sidewalks, stones, etc. The abdomen is light tan with a darker brown band on each segment on the under and hind portions. The head, thorax and legs are slightly darker orange-brown than the abdomen.
  • Little Black Ant (Northeastern IPM center)
  • Odorous House Ant (University of Minnesota Extension)
  • Thief Ant (University of Minnesota Extension)