Identifying Common Ants in New Orleans

Adult Fire Ants

New Orleans is known not just for its jazz and jambalaya but also for being a battleground against common ants. The city’s warm, humid weather makes it a paradise for ants, bringing nuisances like the destructive Argentine ant.

Have you ever wondered what ant species are outside your patio? Keep reading to learn more about the ant world in New Orleans.

Key Takeaways

  • New Orleans is home to eight types of ants, each with specific behaviors and characteristics impacting residents and environments.
  • Early detection of ant infestations in New Orleans is crucial, with signs including visible ant pathways, nest sites, and increased sightings in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Proactive home maintenance and cleanliness, including sealing entry points and managing moisture effectively, are critical strategies for preventing ant invasions in New Orleans.
  • For severe ant infestations in New Orleans, it is advisable to contact professional pest control services to ensure effective and tailored solutions for your home.


New Orleans hosts various species of ants, each with unique traits and impacts on the local environment. Here are the nine common types of ants in the area.

1. Red Imported Fire Ants

Red imported fire ants are notorious for their painful stings that can pose a health risk to Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Mississippi homeowners.

Aspects Description
Appearance Dark reddish-brown
Behavior Aggressive when threatened
Nesting Large, mound-shaped nests in the soil
Foraging Habits Omnivorous, prefer meats and greasy foods
Identifying Characteristics Painful sting, workers vary in size

2. Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are a common household pest in many parts of the world. They are a menace because they can spread disease through various environments.

Aspects Description
Appearance Light yellow to red
Behavior Avoid confrontation, hard to eradicate
Nesting Indoor nests in hidden locations, such as voids behind baseboards
Foraging Habits Prefer sweets, fats, and proteins
Identifying Characteristics Very small, about 1/16 inch long

3. Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants can be a nuisance in homes. When crushed, they give off a rotten smell.

Aspects Description
Appearance Dark brown to black
Behavior Non-aggressive, colonies can be large
Nesting Prefer moist areas, often found near heat sources
Foraging Habits Sweet foods, but eat various household foods
Identifying Characteristics When crushed, emits an odor similar to rotten coconut

4. Acrobat Ants

These ants get their name from their distinctive ability to raise their abdomen over their thorax and head, especially when disturbed.

Aspects Description
Appearance Light brown to black
Behavior Agile climbers
Nesting Inside wood damaged by moisture or termites
Foraging Habits Eat a variety of foods, including sweets and proteins
Identifying Characteristics Heart-shaped abdomen, capable of acrobatic movements

5. Little Black Ants

Although they pose no serious danger to residents, little black ants can be invasive pests when they invade homes and yards.

Aspects Description
Appearance Dark brown to black
Behavior Mild-mannered
Nesting Live in cracks, crevices, or under rocks, also indoors
Foraging Habits Eaters of both greasy foods and sweets
Identifying Characteristics Small, monomorphic workers about 1/16 inch long

6. Ghost Ants

Ghost ants, or sugar ants, are so named for their pale color and elusive nature. They can contaminate food as they forage.

Aspects Description
Appearance Pale, almost transparent legs and abdomen
Behavior Skittish, elusive
Nesting Prefer humid environments, nests often split into multiple locations
Foraging Habits Fond of sweets, especially honeydew
Identifying Characteristics Very small and hard to detect, ghost-like appearance

7. Pavement Ants

Though not typically harmful, Pavement ants pose a risk to humans primarily through the contamination of food sources and the annoyance of their persistent presence in and around homes.

Aspects Description
Appearance Small, typically dark brown to black; about 2.5 to 4 mm in length
Behavior Aggressive towards other ant species; form large colonies
Nesting Prefers to nest under pavements, stones, and along curbs
Foraging Habits Known to forage up to 30 feet from their nest in search of food
Identifying Characteristics Antennae with 12 segments ending in a 3-segmented club; parallel lines on head and thorax

8. Argentine Ants

Native to South America, the Argentine ants pose a significant risk to residents in New Orleans due to their aggressive nature, which leads to the displacement of native ant species and disrupts the local ecosystem.

Aspects Description
Appearance Small, light to dark brown, shiny, uniform in size
Behavior Highly social, aggressive, form supercolonies
Nesting Prefer moist areas, often found in soil, under boards or stones
Foraging Habits Form long trails, actively seek out food day and night
Identifying Characteristics Lack the constriction between the abdomen and thorax typical of other ants

9. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants excavate wood to create their nests, compromising the integrity of buildings over time. This poses a risk primarily because they can cause structural damage to homes.

Aspects Description
Appearance Large ants, typically black, red, or a combination of black and red
Behavior Social insects with a strong preference for moist, decayed wood
Nesting Create nests in wood by chewing wood grain to form smooth galleries
Foraging Habits Active at night, form long foraging trails to food sources
Identifying Characteristics Elbowed antennae, a smoothly rounded thoracic profile, and a single node between the thorax and abdomen


As New Orleans residents, you can overlook the early signs of ant problems during daily routines. So, recognizing these indicators promptly becomes crucial to prevent large colonies from causing painful stings and structural damage.

What Are the Signs

Knowing when ants are becoming a problem is crucial. As residents, you should keep an eye out for:

  • Ant Pathways: Consistent lines of ants, indicating a pheromone trail from their nest to food sources.
  • Nest Sites: Small piles of soil or debris within the premises show where ants may have established colonies.
  • Kitchens & Bathrooms: Increased ant sightings in these areas often signal a nearby ant infestation.
  • Property Damage: Potential damage caused by some ant species (e.g., acrobat ants nesting in wood).

Where to Look

Identifying the typical hiding spots for ants effectively helps target the ant problem. Critical areas to inspect include:

  • Kitchens: Due to easy access to food, these areas are hotspots for ant activity.
  • Bathrooms: Moist environments attract ants searching for water.
  • Basements: Often out of sight, basements can harbor large ant colonies.
  • Foundation Perimeter: Regular checks around the home’s foundation can reveal ant entry points and nesting spots.


In New Orleans, you can take specific steps to fend off ant invasions before they become a bigger headache, focusing on proactive measures and consistent upkeep.

Home Prevention Tips

When it comes to keeping ants away in Louisiana, it’s about staying ahead of the game. Here’s how you can prevent large numbers from setting up shop.

Tasks Details
Inspect seals and gaps Check windows, doors, and utility lines for openings.
Garbage disposal Remove food waste and rinse containers.
Countertop cleaning Wipe surfaces to remove crumbs and spills.
Store food securely Use airtight containers for pantry items.
Landscape maintenance Keep vegetation trimmed away from the house.
Monitor moisture Fix leaks and eliminate standing water.


You have several professional ant extermination services when dealing with ant infestations in New Orleans. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Inspection: Pest control experts start by identifying the type of ants and locating their colonies.
  • Customized Treatment Plans: They craft tailored strategies, including baits, chemical sprays, pesticides, and non-toxic options.
  • Exclusion Techniques: Specialists might seal entry points to prevent ants from re-entering.
  • Follow-up Services: Scheduled follow-ups ensure that the ant problem is entirely resolved.
  • Preventive Advice: Professionals provide tips on how to keep ants at bay in the future.


When dealing with New Orleans ants, you may ask whether it’s time to contact pest control professionals. 

If you discover a large colony or multiple colonies on your property, this could be beyond the scope of DIY pest control methods.

Whether you’re in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, seeking expert help should be easy. For immediate intervention for a severe infestation, let Lajaunie’s ant control specialists tailor a solution that’s right for your home.

For more information about the areas we service, visit our location page.