Small Honey Ants

(Prenolepis impairs)

Characteristics

The small honey ant is sometimes referred to as the "winter ant" and the "false honey ant."

SIZE: 1/8 of an inch

COLOR: Dark brown to black with smooth and shiny bodies

BEHAVIOR: Small honey ants, like other species of ants, are social insects and are divided up into three castes: workers, males and reproductives. Also like many other ant species, these ants are persistent invaders and they tend to forage for food in trails, which can sometimes lead them into homes. However, they don't generally nest indoors.

Small honey ants tend to feed on a variety of sweet household foods, such as sugar, syrup, honey, fruits and meats. They are also known to damage plants by gnawing into the flower buds and other soft tissue to obtain sap or juice. These ants will also eat aphids, scale insects and treehoppers.

Related: How to Identify Different Ant Types

Habitat

The small honey ant is a native species across the United States. Their nests are usually out in the open or around the perimeters of buildings, where they can gain easy access to cracks and crevices that they use to move indoors while foraging for food.

Their nests are typically deep in the soil and some have been recorded as extending as far down as 3.6 meters. Some believe this is to help keep the nest warm. This would explain the small honey ant's tolerance for the colder weather.

These ants can also be found in potted plants and can easily be transferred into the interior of houses.

Tips for Control

Small honey ant mounds can usually be spotted in open and shaded areas. If nests are not found, but you think that you spot honey ants, then check the perimeter of the building for nests.

If you think that small honey ants have moved inside your home, it's best to call the professionals for help. Because their nests can go so far underground, among other reasons, it can be difficult to remove them without the help of a trained professional.

Want to learn more about ants? Terminix® can help.

Sources:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/what-to-do-about-household-ants/

https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/ants/honeyant.shtml