Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Information, insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Unidentified Flying Ant in Washington, DC - Tetramorium immigrans

Unidentified Flying Ant in Washington, DC - Tetramorium immigrans
Washington, DC, Mid-Atlantic, USA County, District of Columbia, USA
June 1, 2010
Size: 1/4 "
This is a clumsy ant, but seems like something that probably eats wood since they come out by the hundreds from the baseboard of my exterior wall. I'm certain that there are thousands back there. The ant is harmless to the touch, and barely dodges a human hand. When you wave your hand by it in the air, even a small gust of wind will send it whirling down to the ground only to take a good 20 seconds to right itself again.

I have both winged and non-winged, but the winged ones are more visible as they come out much farther. The non-winged ones are a good bit smaller, probably less than half the size, and while they don't fly, they're much more active, and quick to respond to stimuli. If there are hundreds of the winged ones, there are thousands of the other guys.

I have the feeling they may be eating my landlord's house down, but they appear to be nocturnal so she's never seen them, and I don't even know if they even eat wood.

Okay, way too much guessing going on here, but I'll guess, too.

Notwithstanding the fuzzy image quality, and a size report that in fact lies between those of Monomorium and Tetramorium (the two best guesses), I think the brownish, rather than whitish appearance of the wings, and apparent relative dullness of the ants indicates these are Tetramorium species formerly know as "caespitum". The behavior you describe is typical of this urban ant's pre-mating flight emergence. The species nests in soil, not walls. There are other pictures of males of the species here:

BTW, there is no subfamily "Myrmecinae". There are Myrmicinae and Australian Myrmeciinae. Guess which one this belongs to.

There are a few people, inclu
There are a few people, including myself that has posted pictures of these recently. I found over 1000 of them swarming to the vegitation washed up on a couple of beaches in Suffolk County NY. They were collected on June 15, 2010. They do appear to look very much like Megalomyrmex, with the exception that their thorax appears abit more hunchback.

Hers is one better image:

Certainly not Megalomyrmex
This genus is strictly Neotropical.

Moved from ID Request.

Not an expert but...
...these lok like one of the Carpenter Ants (Camponotus). You can read about them on the Info page.

Male vs. Female... carpenter ants?
I agree in principle that it kind of does look like a carpenter ant... but the bodies of the winged ants seem different enough in both A) the size of their head (the ones pictured are very small relative to their bodies, and they don't seem to have those sideways chomping mandibles, and B) the exoskeletal bridge between their abdomen and their their rear end... the ones pictured are much longer and narrower (Wikipedia says that I'm talking about the "petiole," connecting their forward "alitrunk" and their rear "gaster.")

That being said, the heads of the non-winged ones do look a heck of a lot like some of the carpenter ants pictured... it's just really hard to slow them down enough to analyze them.

Males ants for sure however t
Males ants for sure however they do not look like Camponotus. Camponotus have a single"node" petiole, these appear to be double "node" which puts them in a different subfamily.

Subfamily of...?
Is that a different subfamily of ant or carpenter ant? Either way, it sounds like we're dealing with a different species... do they, might they eat wood? (Oh, and sorry for these guys looking a bit squashed. There's hundreds more that are happy, alive and well).

Different ant subfamily. Camp
Different ant subfamily. Camponotus are subfamily Formicinae, these look to be subfamily Myrmecinae. Keep in mind that no ants actually eat wood, they just nest in it, either in already existing cavities or by excavating in unsound wood.

Myrmecinae... ?
OK, so I'm looking on (which seems to blanketly reference Wikipedia, and neither of which seem like the most reputable place for such taxonomy) and I think I'm leaning towards...

Family... Formicidae (ant)
Subfamily... Myrmecinae
Tribe... Solenopsidini
Genera... Megalomyrmex... but it's also telling me that it's a lot like Monomorium, which doesn't seem accurate...

The truth of the matter is that I could have gotten way off track at the tribe level, since there's very little information about most of them. Either way, are they burrowing in my walls? If yes, are there nice ways of telling them to burrow elsewhere? Home remedies, or is this the grim, and unfortunate job of an exterminator?

Too large to be Monomorium, M
Too large to be Monomorium, Megalomyrmex is tropical. Very unlikely they are actually burrowing more likely just living in the void space. Do you have a slab floor?? If so could be nesting under the slab. There is no real reliable way that is not pesticide related to get them to move.

Sleeping with Solenopsidini
Thanks. I don't have a slab floor. This is the second floor of a two-story 100 sq. ft (per floor) addition to the back of a turn-of-the-century brick row house. The baseboard sits at the bottom of drywall that (in other experiences) is probably only covering 2x4's and the inside of the brick, i.e. no insulation. The opposite side of the wall is north-facing brick, painted white, and extends all the way to ground level where it enters the very cluttered and unkempt backyard of an elderly neighbor.

The floor below the baseboard is typical of any Washington DC row house - wooden beams, no insulation, and even a weathered tongue-in-groove wood ceiling above the first story laundry room (that is otherwise very clean and well kept).

Yikes... sounds like they could be everywhere! What's next?

Scents of Coconut...?
So I appear to have it on good authority that this is the plaguing Odorous House Ant (aka Tapinoma T. sessile). The nuptial flights from June thru mid-july, the multiple queens, the descriptions of the worker ants and the preferred climate.

Next step might be understanding how to better analyze this nest (or what sounds like could be a network of nests) and moving from Phase II to Phase III. The first phase was recognizing that I had a problem.

Near as I can tell not Tapino
Near as I can tell not Tapinoma, too large, apparent double petiole etc. Without a better image may be impossible to get a good Id. Could be Crematogaster, Tetramorium, Solenopsis. When Dr. Ant sees this post he may a better idea than I do as I do not eastern ants as well as western species.

More evidence
I will try to take more photos and post later for Dr. Ant. Thanks.

So has Dr. Ant been around?
So has Dr. Ant been around? Anyone have any ideas on this critter??

Here I am, a little late.
See above

better image (lots of people
better image (lots of people have posted this species lately)

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.