Field Ants

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  • Colour Black, brown, yellow, and red
  • Size From 4 mm to 9 mm long
  • Description The thorax is unevenly rounded, there is one node between the abdomen and the thorax, and there are three tiny white dots – tiny simple eyes, or ocelli – on the front of the head between their two compound eyes.

Why do I have field ants

Field ants, also called mound ants or thatching ants, build outdoor nests, constructing mounds in the soil anywhere in the lawn or yard. Some species prefer to live under firewood piles, bricks, lawn ornaments, trees, and rocks.

The ants feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and other plant-sucking insects, as well as sugary substances, soft-bodied insects, seed husks, and dead insects.

Habitat, Diet, Lifecycle/Reproduction


While different species of field ants hold different preferences in regard to habitat, none of them invade homes for shelter. Instead, field ants favour outdoor nests. Typically, the insects construct mounds in the soil anywhere in the lawn or yard. As field ants prefer to live outdoors in soil, they are most often found in lawns beneath rocks and logs. This means they rarely show up inside homes. However, when the ants do make their way inside, they’re attracted by food sources like trash bins, crumbs, and spilled drinks. Homeowners may notice them on countertops, tables, and windowsills.


The primary component of the field ant diet is the honeydew produced by aphids and other plant-sucking insects. However, as field ants are not known to be picky, the pests also feed on sugary substances, soft-bodied insects, seed husks, and dead insects.

Life Cycle/Reproduction

The duration of the field ant life cycle and the specific reproductive processes of the insects tend to vary by species. However, every colony features a queen ant who takes responsibility for laying eggs. The eggs then mature into sterile worker females and male drones. A single field ant colony is capable of surviving a decade.

How do field ants get inside

Given suitable points of entry and available food, large-scale infestations of field ants can occur inside homes. The pests are able to break into homes through extremely small cracks and holes such as damaged window and door seals or broken window screens. At the first sign of field ants in the house, residents should contact the professionals at Orkin Canada for swift elimination.

How worried should I be about field ants

Field ants rarely come indoors, but in the yard, their mounds may prevent the growth of grass or surrounding plants and can cause problems when the lawn must be mowed. Mounds built by field ants can grow as large as 30 cm in diameter and so can create an unsightly scene.

Fields ants are difficult to spot early on, before the mound is fully formed, but once established a single field ant colony is capable of surviving a decade. If you do decide they are a nuisance, the best way to eliminate them is with the help of professional pest control services.

Do field ants bite

Field ants nest in soil and are often found on private properties. When their mounds are disturbed, the pests will bite. They pinch people’s skin between their mouthparts and squirt formic acid into the wounds they create, which causes a stinging sensation.

How can I prevent field ants invading

Check under wood piles, lawn ornaments, and large rocks, Locate and fix any cracks in the foundation, Repair broken screens on windows and doors, Check that drainage is free-flowing and clean, Trim back overhanging shrubs and trees, Keep lawns clear of clutter and debris

What is the difference between field ants and carpenter ants

Field ants and carpenter ants are easily confused because of their similar size and colour. However, the two species are physically distinguishable based on the shape of their thoraxes, as field ants have two distinct curves, while carpenter ants have a single curve.

Field ants and carpenter ants also observe different nesting habits. Homeowners will find carpenter ants in porch pillars, windowsills, roofs, and dead trees because they hollow out wood to create their nests. Field ants live in underground tunnel systems in the soil.

How to get rid of field ants?

For the most part, field ants typically pose a minimal threat to structures as they generally prefer outdoor nesting and avoid entering residential spaces. As a result, smaller colonies don’t always require treatment. This is especially true if they are found in open, non-landscaped areas, as these ants  are beneficial to the ecosystem in general. 

Getting rid of field ants becomes a priority when they start to invade your property, whether they are causing problems in your garden, lawn, along sidewalks or swarming within your home or business. The most effective approach involves a two-fold process: implementing preventative measures and dealing with the infestation at the source.

  1. Clean up yard debris around your property. Removing potential nest building materials and sources of cover for ant nests makes them less likely to build colonies close to indoor structures. This includes  plant materials such as grass clippings, twigs, fallen leaves, dead wood or fallen trees. You can also move piles of firewood to a considerable distance from your property to eliminate convenient access points for ants. If you have mulch in your gardens, ensure it is not touching the foundation of your home.
  2.  Regularly trim and manage the length of trees and shrubs near your home, and maintain a consistent lawn mowing schedule, remove all trimmings and grass clippings . Field ants are capable of finding food sources in various places. Although they prefer honeydew produced by plant-sucking insects, they are scavengers hence are resourceful and may seek alternative food sources closer to your home.
  3. The integrity of your door and window weather stripping plays a crucial role in preventing field ant infiltration. Given their small size, field ants can easily navigate through doors and windows, especially when weather stripping is damaged or when these entrances are left open without supervision. Motivated by food and potentially finding a source can quickly bring many of these pests indoors. Check for tears and rips in screens as well to cover these areas from all angles.
  4. Inspect and repair potential other entry points. For most ant species, it’s highly recommended to identify and rectify other potential entry points. This includes sealing cracks, mending gaps, and paying close attention to areas where utility wires or pipes enter your home. Pay close attention to foundation walls where they like to penetrate and nest.
  5. Seal and store food appropriately. Sugary items are a strong draw for field ants looking for new sugary food sources. The best thing you can do is prevent them from finding these sources by sealing away food in containers and ensuring sweet foods are not left out for extended periods. Regular kitchen clean-ups, which include wiping down countertops and organizing the pantry, can also serve as effective preventative measures.

For the removal of field ant nests, you can consider a few methods that may help with the situation:

  • There are various treatment options available at the local hardware store that can be used as targeted solutions to manage and remove field ant nests. Take away any plant material or debris over the mound and apply the targeted treatment  as necessary following   label instructions. You may choose to treat the area again in a few days if label permits, as some forager ants will return to the nest after searching for food. 
  • The most reliable method of control is often contacting a professional pest control company, like Orkin Canada. Our team takes a comprehensive approach; putting together a detailed strategy to get rid of field ants. In order to completely remove a field ant mound, the queen of the colony must be removed which may pose a challenge given her location deep underground. Your Orkin Canada Pro is knowledgeable and equipped to deal with this pest and provide a full removal.

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