biting black ants

dirt_farmerAugust 2, 2014


I was cutting grass and got close to a rock pile were numerous black ants started crawling up my leg , biting me and giving me welts. I quickly left the area but saw that the rock pile was now covered with angry ants.The ants were smaller than carpenter ants and there was no wood around. I wanted to get a picture but figured that best left to another day as it sorta freaked me out.
I live in a temperate area so this is very unusual behavior for ants were I live. Does anybody have a clue as to what ant species it was. They were extremely aggressive and protecting their nest I suppose.
thanks for any feedback

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Fire ants of the SE U.S. are typically thought of in those situations, but they are reddish.

It would be useful to know your location.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:53AM
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I'm in the Appalachian mountain range about mid point.
Zone 6
I am presently trying to capture some ants to get some pics.
So hopefully I will be able to post pics soon. I will probably put some under a magnifying glass and take the pic.
I observed the ants today from a distance and they looked reddish brown. But what was going after me the other day looked decidedly black.
I cant explain that unless ants are not uniformly colored.
I know very little about Myrmecology.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:46PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It might be a good idea for you to call on your local University Extension office to see if they've been bombarded with calls about biting ants in recent months.

Fire ants have steadily been making their way outside of southern locations so that's a wouldn't surprise me.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:24PM
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This is the best pic I could take with my camera. I took the pic at dusk because it seems the ants are not as aggressive. During the mid day i can not get closer then 6 feet from the nest before getting bitten.
I put some pancake syrup in a open jar close to the nest last night and expected it to be full of ants and not even one ant ??
However a cricket did get in the bottle which seemed weird because he had to get past the ants to do it.
I looked closely for a stinger on a captured ants bottom and did not see any.
They are definitely not carpenter ants from what I can see and much bigger than Argentine ants.
thanks for any idea's

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:44PM
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The picture is not going to help, but thanks for the effort.

Were you getting bitten (from mouthparts), stung (from the rear of the ant) or both? Knowing this can help determine the type of ant involved.

Fire ants bite and sting, the sting producing the lasting pain, other ants just bite.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:42PM
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I believe it was the mouth parts.
I did not have any lasting pain.
I know that they have found fire ants here before but according to the web site i was reading there was no established colonies.
I think Camponotus chromaiodes ( red carpenter ant ) may be this ant. I am very familiar with black carpenter ants but do not encounter the red ones. The black carpenter ants seem much more benign then their red counterparts although this is just my personal observation and may not be true.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:15PM
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You may be on the right track; fire ants would seem to be ruled out.

Even tiny insects can cling to the skin and dig in, very irritating, especially in numbers.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:55PM
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