Little Black Ants

Little Black Ants
  • Size: About 1.5 to 3 mm long
  • Color: Black
  • Distinctive Feature: Very small, moving in long lines
  • Habitat: Under stones, in wall cracks, around house foundations

Appearance of Little Black Ants

Little black ants are easily recognizable by their small size, usually between 1.5 and 3 mm long. They have a uniform, glossy black color. Their body is divided into three distinct segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen, with a petiole (a small stem) separating the thorax from the abdomen. The antennas of the ants are segmented and end in a small club.


These ants are adapted to a variety of habitats but prefer moist and shaded environments. In Quebec, they are often found outdoors in rotting wood piles, under stones, or in the soil. They can also settle inside homes, particularly in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where humidity is higher. Their indoor nests can often be located in walls, under floors, or near heat sources.


Little black ants are omnivores, feeding on a variety of substances, including dead insects, sweets, fats, and even household waste. They are particularly attracted to sweet substances. These ants form well-marked trails to food sources, following pheromones left by their peers. They are known for their adaptability and ability to survive in various environments, which can make them particularly persistent in inhabited areas. Their activity is more pronounced during the warm months.

Distinguishing Little Black Ants from Other Insects

Pavement Ant

Pavement Ant

Pavement ants, also known as sidewalk ants, are similar in size to little black ants, but they have a dark brown to black color and a slightly more robust body. They are known for their aggressive behavior, particularly towards other ant species. Pavement ants prefer outdoor habitats and are often found under pavements, stones, or along the edges of sidewalks.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants are significantly larger than little black ants, with a size ranging from 6 to 12 mm. Their color can vary from black to reddish-brown. These ants prefer moist wood to establish their nest, often causing structural damage to homes. Their nests are usually hidden and difficult to locate, unlike those of little black ants, which are often more visible.

Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh ants differ from little black ants by their slightly lighter color, ranging from yellow to light brown. They are also smaller, typically measuring between 1.5 and 2 mm. Another distinctive sign is their preference for warm indoor environments, such as hospitals and bakeries, where they can establish extensive colonies. Unlike little black ants, they can feed on a wide variety of foods, including proteins.

German Cockroach

German Cockroach

Although German cockroaches are not ants, they can be mistaken for small black insects. They are larger than little black ants, typically measuring between 13 and 16 mm as adults, but nymphs are smaller. Their color varies from light brown to dark brown, and they have two dark bands on their pronotum (the area just behind the head). German cockroaches are also faster and have the ability to fly, unlike little black ants.

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