Fire Ant

Body Color: dark reddish-brown

Many of the ants of this genus are called fire ants because their venom, injected by a stinger, causes intense irritation and may cause severe reactions in especially sensitive people. Fire ants are very active and aggressive, and may kill young wildlife or produce sores and nausea in humans. Workers are a dark brown in color and may be found in two basic sizes, called major and minor workers, which are 1/15 to ¼-inch long. Typical yards contain several mounds, and larger yards may contain several dozen. Each of these mounds can belong to a separate colony, or one colony may occupy several distinct mounds, which are connected by underground foraging tunnels. Large colonies can have up to 300-500,000 workers that forage over an area with a radius of over 100 yards. Fire ants are both predators and scavengers, attacking and killing other insects and small animals, or feeding on dead animals. They also feed on honeydew, certain parts of plants or plant secretions, and other sweet materials. Occasionally, this species will nest inside homes, especially in the winter under bathtubs (which often have access to bare soil through the slab, under the tub), next to hot water heaters or other sources of warmth.

Fire Ants in Texas

Carpenter Ant

Body Color: large and typically blackish or very dark-bodied

These are among the most conspicuous of the ants found in and around homes. Foraging workers have rather large mandibles, with which they can bite or give a strong pinch. Workers vary greatly in size, ranging from ¼ to ¾ inch long. Many species are black, perhaps with some faintly grayish bands on the abdomen, others may have brown or reddish coloration along with the black giving them a two toned appearance. These ants excavate galleries in wood which resembles the work of termites, but which can be distinguished by their entirely clean and almost sandpapered appearance, hence the name Carpenter Ants. These pests will pretty much eat anything a human would eat

Carpenter Ant in Texas

Ghost Ant

Body Color: head and thorax are a deep dark brown with gaster 
and legs opaque or milky white

Ghost ant workers are extremely small, 1.3 to 1.5 mm long and monomorphic (one-sized). They have 12-segmented antennae with the segments gradually thickening towards the tip. Colonies contain several reproductive females and hundreds of thousands of workers. Colonies can occupy several different nesting sites and spread a variety of bacteria. The ghost ant is highly adaptable in its nesting habits. It nests readily outdoors or indoors. Colonies may be moderate to large in size containing numerous reproducing females. The sites include tufts of dead but temporarily moist grass, plant stems, and cavities beneath detritus in open, rapidly changing habitats. Indoors, the ant colonizes wall void or spaces between cabinetry and baseboards. It will also nest in potted plants. They are fond of honeydew and tend honeydew-excreting insects. They also feed on both dead and live insects.

Ghost Ant in Texas