The Cornfield Ant (genus Lasius) is a small, light to dark brown ant that often lives in cornfields and lawns, and is very abundant outdoors, in general. You can find them nesting in the soil under large stones, bricks, sidewalks and the like, as well as in and around rotting logs and stumps. They feed on dead insects and sweets, including honeydew that is secreted by aphids. They may find their way into homes in search of food, but they very rarely nest in homes. It is distributed throughout nearly all of North America, except for the extreme southern and southwestern portions, and is believed by some to be the most abundant ant on our entire continent.
Stephen A. Forbes, Former State Entomologist (Urbana, Illinois, December, 1908): “The little brown ant notorious for its injuries to corn, and called by us, consequently, the corn-field ant, is not by any means limited to corn fields, but is abundant in all cultivated lands, in pastures and meadows, in dense forests, along hard pathways, and in the sandy soil of dry sunny roads. One sometimes finds it nesting in rotten wood or under bark, logs, or stones, and even opening up its underground burrows to the surface between the bricks of sidewalks and pavements.”
Photos and Additional Information:
- Habits and Behavior of the Corn-field Ant (By Stephen A. Forbes) (University of Illinois – library archives)
- What To Do About Household Ants (University of Minnesota Extension)
- color photo (worker) (antweb.org)
- color photo (queens with smaller–and winged–male drones) (University of Wisonsin-Madison)