Big Headed Ant


Actual Size: 1.5 to 4.5 mm

Characteristics: Range in color from dark brown through shades of red to light yellow. Workers have an unusually large, heart-shaped head.


  • Colonies can reach a tremendous size, with extended nests and multiple queens.
  • Big headed ants feed on sweets, live and dead insects.
  • Workers use their large jaws to crack seeds and other food for the colony.

Big Headed ants can be found infesting homes across the United States. These ants can be easy to identify if workers are found, due to their enlarged heads. Big Headed ants build large colonies, with one supercolony reported to have covered an entire city block. Most species nest in soil and often next to foundations where they may construct mud tubes, which can be mistaken for subterranean termites.

Big Headed Ant Habitats

Big Headed ants forage quickly and build large colonies with conspicuous nests, frequently nesting in disturbed habitats like roadsides and lawns. Some species of big headed ants are intermediate hosts for tapeworms of wild and domesticated turkeys and other fowl. Colonies can reach a tremendous size, with huge extended nests and multiple queens. Bigheaded ants build their colonies in the soil, in and under objects that come in contact with the ground. They will nest in leaf litter, firewood, fences, and walls,

Big Headed Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Big headed ants do not generally bite unless disturbed, and even then, their bite is not painful. These ants can cause issues for homeowners as they are persistent foragers, hunting for food, inside and outside of homes. Big headed ants will leave piles of debris and dirt inside structures and in trails leading to and from their colonies.

Infestations can be found around buildings, ornamental plant bases, sidewalks, and driveways. Owners of infested buildings typically complain about finding hundreds of both live and dead ants. Control is difficult because unless the entire supercolony is treated, there is a high probability of reinfestation.

Big Headed Ant Prevention

To help prevent a big headed ant infestation, remove potential nesting sites near your home. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and clean up any cellulose debris around your yard. Rake and clean up fallen leaves or branches around your property. Sealing around utility entrances will also help to reduce the chances of these pests getting inside.