There are few thousands of ant species have been identified but only few of them are classified as invasive pests.

In Malaysia, some of the important household ants are:

  1. Weaver Ant
  2. Black Crazy Ant
  3. Red Crazy Ant
  4. Pharaoh Ant
  5. Singapore Ant
  6. Ghost Ant
  7. Small Honey Ant
  8. Rambutan Ant
  9. Big-headed Ant
  10. White-footed Ant
  11. Acrobat Ant
  12. Fire Ant
  13. Pavement Ant
  14. Argentine Ant

 

1. Weaver Ant

 

Scientific Name: Oecophylla smaragdina

Description: Commonly known as Kerengga in Malaysia.

One of the giant size ant found where the Minor Workers around 5 to 6 mm and Major Workers measure around 8 to 10 mm in length.

They are yellowish brown with long legs.

They do not have a stinger but inflict a painful bite which is aggravated by irritating chemicals secreted from their abdomen.

Nest: Build nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk on tree top.

A colony may be dispersed over several nest in different locations in a tree or even several trees.

The Queen is located in one nest and her eggs are distributed to the other nests.

Food: They farm scale insects or mealybugs for their honeydew.

They also feed on small insects.

Habitat: confine to outdoor only.

 

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2. Black Crazy Ant

 

Scientific Name: Paratrechina longicornis

Description: Its common name arises from its characteristic of erratic and rapid movement that not following trails as compared to other ant species.

One of the widely distributed species where they are found almost everywhere in the world.

Nest: They can nest in a variety of locations from dry to moist environments.

Normally, they often nest some distance away from its foraging areas.

They often found to build their nests in places like trash, refuse, cavities in plants and trees, rotten wood and in soil.

Food: Black Crazy ants feed on a wide variety of food including live and dead insects, seeds, honeydew, fruits, plant educates and many household foods.

In farms, they are found tending mealybugs and scale insects to harvest honeydew.

Habitat: Found in outdoor, indoor and perimeter of a house.

 

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3. Red Crazy Ant

 

Scientific Name: Anoplolepis longipes

Description: Characteristic wise quite similar to Black Crazy Ant except they could appear in great numbers.

They have long legs and yellowish to red bodies.

They are one of the important tramp ant species which have multiple Queens in a colony and capable of producing a Supercolony like in Australia which covers about 100km wide.

Nest: They prefer to nest in areas with access to water and moisture for example in utility service pits or piles of timber, or under logs, debris or leaf litter.

They will also nest at base of trees, around perimeters of buildings and within retaining walls where moisture is retained.

Food: They have been described as scavenging predators and have a broad diet.

They consume a wide variety of foods including grains, seeds, dead or live insects and even small animals.

Like most of ant species, they also rely on mealybugs and scale insects to provide them with honeydew.

Habitat: Found in perimeter and outdoor of a building.

 

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4. Pharaoh Ant

 

Scientific Name: Monomorium pharaonis

Description: Pharaoh Ant is a tinny (2 mm) yellow to light brown tramp ant species.

Their origins are unknown but now has been introduced to virtually everywhere in the world.

This species has multiple Queens in a colony and able to form bud colonies quickly.

These multiple could coexist and foraging the same area without fighting each other.

Mating take place in the nest so no swarming occurs.

They travel in trails along carpets, cabinets or floor and use electrical wires and pumping pipes to travel from room to room.

Nest: This is one of the few ant species that build its nest inside a house or building.

Nesting occurs in inaccessible, warm and moist areas which is near to food sources such as wall voids, behind baseboards, behind refrigerator insulation, inside hollow curtain rods, or in the folds of sheets, clothes or paper.

Food: Feed on both living and dead insects as well as sweets, fats and proteins.

Habitat: Found indoor or perimeter of a building.

 

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5. Singapore Ant

 

Scientific Name: Monomorium destructor

Description: Small-medium sized (1.8 to 3.5 mm) ant which are red-brown in the front of their bodies and darker in the back.

They are slow moving ant following narrow trail. Large colonies normally have multiple Queens.

It is known to chew up fabric or rubber insulation layer surrounding wires or piping in a building and causes serious damage.

Nest: Nest in soil (lawns) or inside buildings where they would build their nests in electrical boxes or even inside clothing drawers.

Food: Feed on living and dead insects, insect eggs and will forage for sweets, fats and proteins. In households, they will feed on almost any food available.

Habitat: Found in indoor and perimeter of houses or buildings.

 

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6. Ghost Ant

 

Scientific Name: Tapinoma melanocephalum

Description: Ghost Ants are tiny ants (1.5 to 2.0 mm) with dark heads and pale or translucent legs and abdomen.

They are one of common ants found in homes, restaurants and hospitals.

Identified as one of the tramp ant species, they have more than one Queen in a colony and capable of establishing Super-colony.

When disturbed, they run rapidly and erratically.

Nest: Outdoor, they nest in moist turfs, plant stems and in potted plants. Indoor, they build the nests in wall voids or spaces between cabinets and baseboards.

Food: They feed on dead or live insects and tending mealybugs or scale insects for their honeydew in outdoor.

Inside a home, they feed upon many household foods and show preference for sweets like sugar, cakes and syrups.

Habitat: Commonly found inside buildings or perimeters.

 

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7. Small Honey Ant

 

Scientific Name: Prenolepis imparis

Description: Tiny ants with body size about 2 to 3 mm.

Also known as False Honey Ant.

Nest: Usually nest in the soil with some clay content.

They are known to nest under rocks or logs.

Food: Feed on honeydew secreted from mealybugs, aphids or soft scale insects, plant nectar and ripened or decaying fruit.

They also known to forage inside houses and feed on syrup, fruits and most sweet food.

Habitat: Found mainly in the perimeters of a building.

 

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8. Rambutan Ant

 

Scientific Name: Dolichoderus bituberculatus

Description: Black medium size ants that can have multiple queens in a colony.

Also known as Cocoa Black Ants.

They have potential to become Super-colony that can cover large tracts of land.

Mature colonies could have millions of workers and several thousands of queens that cover the whole cocoa plantation.

Nest: In outdoor they build their nests by wrapping leaves on trees like the Weaver Ants do.

Food: They are fond of sugary food and known to tend mealybugs and soft scale insects for their honeydew.

Habitat: Found in indoor, outdoor and perimeter of a building.

 

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9. Big-headed Ant

 

Scientific Name: Pheidole sp.

Description: Workers of this species have distinct body size.

Major workers are about 3 to 4 mm whilst the Minor workers are about 2 mm in length.

It earns its name from the large sized head of the Major Workers.

A colony can have several queens and super colonies can be formed by budding.

Nest: Big-headed ants nest in colonies underground.

Food: They feed on dead insects, small animals and honeydew secreted by aphids, mealybugs and scale insects.

Indoor, they feed on anything that is sugary, fats and proteins.

Habitat: Build nests outdoor but feed both indoor and outdoor.

 

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10. White-footed Ant

 

Scientific Name: Technomyrmex albipes

Description: Medium small (2 to 3 mm), black to brownish-black ant with yellowish- white feats.

They are considered nuisance pest because they frequently foraging in kitchens, bathrooms and exterior of buildings.

Nest: They nest at or above ground level outdoor under debris, in leaf-litter and occasionally inside houses.

Food: They feed on plant nectar and honeydew produced by mealybugs, aphids or scale insects. Inside the house, they will feed on anything sugary.

Habitat: Normally foraging outside of the house but occasionally foraging inside.

 

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11. Acrobat Ant

 

Scientific Name: Crematogaster sp.

Description: Medium size ants about (2 to 4 mm).

They have a distinct heart-shape abdomen.

Gained their name because of their habit of raising their abdomens when disturbed.

All workers are same size. One of ant species that have single queen and perform swarming to establish new colonies.

Nest: Mainly nesting in trees or rotten wood.

Food: Acrobat ants acquire food largely through feeding on other insects.

They also feed on honeydew from mealybugs, aphids and scale insects, or protein from bird droppings.

Habitat: Mainly found in perimeters and outdoor of houses.

 

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12. Fire Ant

 

Scientific Name: Solenopsis sp.

Description: Fire ants are stinging ants and are also commonly known as Red Ant because of their colour.

Their size range from 2 to 4 mm.

Nest: Fire ants nest in the soil, often near moist areas such as river banks, watered lawns and so on.

If there is no cover for nesting, mounds would be constructed.

Food: Their diet consists of dead animals including insects, earthworms and small vertebrates.

Workers also collect honeydew from aphids, mealybugs and scale insects.

Inside homes, they will forage for sweets, proteins and fats.

Habitat: Found outdoor, indoor as well as in perimeters of buildings.

 

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13. Pavement Ant

 

Scientific Name: Tetramorium sp.

Description: Pavement ants are medium size ants (2.5 to 4 mm) and are dark brown to black in colour.

As their name have indicated, they make their nests in pavements.

One of the species that will swarm to form new colonies.

Nest: Most nests are located under sidewalks, building slabs and rocks.

Food: They will feed on almost everything ranging from insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meat, ice cream, cheese and so on.

Habitat: Mostly found in perimeters and outdoor of a building.

 

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14. Argentine Ant

 

Scientific Name: Linepithema humile

Description: Light to dark brown ant measures about 1.6 mm in length.

Originated from South America and now spread to almost every corner of the world.

All their workers are of the same size and they release a musty odour when crushed.

They have multiple queens in a colony and seldom swarm to form new colonies.

Nest: They nest very shallow in soil, under woods, slabs, debris, mulch, in branches or holes in trees.

Food: Feed on nectar, fruits and buds of plants.

They are also tending insects like mealybugs, aphids and scale insects for honeydew.

Inside homes, they are foraging for sweets and fats.

Habitat: Found mainly in the perimeters as well as inside buildings.

 

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