Ants are a common sight in many places, and Boston is no exception. These tiny creatures can be found in various habitats, from homes and gardens to parks and forests. While they may seem insignificant, ants play an important role in the ecosystem. In this article, we will explore the different types of ants found in Boston and learn more about their characteristics and behaviors.

1. Introduction

Ants are social insects that belong to the family Formicidae. They live in colonies and have a hierarchical structure with various roles assigned to different individuals. In Boston, several species of ants can be found, each with its unique characteristics and behaviors.

2. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in Boston. They are usually black or reddish-black in color and can be identified by their large mandibles. These ants are known for their ability to tunnel through wood and create nests inside buildings. While they do not consume wood like termites, their nesting behavior can cause structural damage over time.

3. Pavement Ants

Pavement ants, also known as sidewalk ants, are a common sight in urban areas of Boston. They are small ants, typically brown or black in color. Pavement ants build their nests under sidewalks, driveways, and foundations. They are attracted to sugary foods and can often be found foraging for crumbs and spills in kitchens and pantries.

4. Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are named for the pungent odor they emit when crushed. These ants are small, dark brown or black in color, and can often be found trailing along walls and countertops. They are attracted to sweet substances and are known to invade homes in search of food and water.

5. Thief Ants

Thief ants, also known as grease ants, are tiny ants that are pale yellow or light brown in color. They get their name from their habit of stealing food from other ant colonies. These ants are commonly found in kitchens and are attracted to greasy or oily substances. They can be a nuisance when they infest food storage areas.

6. Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are a small species of ant with a light yellow or reddish-brown color. They are notorious for their ability to establish large colonies quickly and infest various areas of a building. Pharaoh ants are attracted to a wide range of foods and can pose a significant problem in hospitals, restaurants, and other sensitive environments.

7. Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants are named for their unique behavior of raising their abdomen over their head when disturbed. They are small to medium-sized ants, ranging in color from light brown to black. Acrobat ants are typically found nesting in decaying wood, such as tree stumps or rotten logs. While they are not a major household pest, they can occasionally invade homes in search of food.

8. Little Black Ants

Little black ants, as the name suggests, are small ants with a dark brown or black coloration. They are common in Boston and can be found nesting both indoors and outdoors. These ants are attracted to sweets and can quickly become a nuisance when they invade homes or gardens.

9. Crazy Ants

Crazy ants, also known as hairy crazy ants, are an invasive species that has been spreading in certain parts of the United States, including Boston. They are reddish-brown in color and get their name from their erratic and fast-paced movements. Crazy ants can infest homes and disrupt electrical systems, making them a significant nuisance.

10. Field Ants

Field ants are a diverse group of ants found in various habitats, including meadows, fields, and gardens. They vary in size and color, ranging from reddish-brown to black. Field ants build large mounds and are generally not considered household pests. However, they can become a problem when their colonies expand near human dwellings.

11. Ghost Ants

Ghost ants are tiny ants with a translucent appearance, giving them their ghostly name. They are pale in color, with a dark head and thorax. Ghost ants are often found indoors, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. They are attracted to sweet foods and are known for their ability to establish multiple satellite colonies.

12. Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are an invasive species that has become widespread in many parts of the world, including Boston. They are dark brown in color and form large supercolonies consisting of interconnected nests. Argentine ants are known for their aggressive behavior towards other ant species and can outcompete native ants for resources.

In conclusion, Boston is home to a diverse range of ant species, each with its own characteristics and behaviors. From carpenter ants that can cause structural damage to odorous house ants that invade homes, it is important to understand the types of ants present in the area. By identifying and addressing ant infestations, homeowners can effectively manage these pests and protect their properties.


  1. Are ants harmful to humans?
    • While most ants are not harmful to humans, some can bite or sting, causing discomfort or allergic reactions.
  2. How can I prevent ants from entering my home?
    • Keep your home clean and free of food debris, seal cracks and openings, and eliminate standing water sources.
  3. What do ants eat?
    • Ants have diverse diets and can consume various foods, including sugars, proteins, oils, and even other insects.
  4. How do ants communicate with each other?
    • Ants communicate through chemical signals called pheromones, which help them navigate, locate food, and coordinate activities.
  5. Can ants cause structural damage to buildings?
    • Certain ant species, such as carpenter ants, can tunnel through wood and potentially cause structural damage over time.