Maine, known for its rugged coastlines, dense forests, and variable climate, also plays host to a variety of ant species. These small, yet significant, creatures have adapted to thrive in the often harsh and variable weather conditions of the Pine Tree State. Below, we discuss some of the most common ant species that you might encounter in Maine.

1. Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

Pavement ants are small, typically brownish-black ants that make their home in the cracks of pavement, sidewalks, and driveways. They are known for the mounds of dirt they leave at the entrance to their subterranean nests. An interesting aspect of pavement ants is their tendency to engage in battles with neighboring colonies, which can result in large sidewalk swarms.

2. Carpenter Ants (Camponotus spp.)

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants you’ll find in Maine, coming in various sizes and colors, though commonly black. They are notorious for nesting in wood and can cause structural damage over time if their presence is left unchecked in homes. These ants do not eat wood but excavate it to create their nests.

3. Cornfield Ants (Lasius alienus)

Cornfield ants are typically yellowish-brown and often found outdoors, particularly in soil or under rocks. While they’re called cornfield ants, they are not confined to agricultural areas and can be found throughout the Maine landscape. They can also tend to aphid populations, “farming” them for their honeydew.

4. Thief Ants (Solenopsis molesta)

Thief ants are very small, often no more than a couple of millimeters long, and can vary in color from yellow to light brown. They are named for their behavior of stealing food and brood from the nests of other ants. In homes, they can be pests, infesting food products.

5. Acorn Ants (Temnothorax spp.)

These tiny ants are often less than 3 mm in length and live in the small cavities of acorns, nuts, and twigs. Their minute size allows them to take advantage of these unique nesting places, and while they are common in Maine’s forests, they are frequently overlooked due to their small nests and non-aggressive nature.

6. Field Ants (Formica spp.)

Field ants construct large mounds out of soil, typically in open areas, and can be recognized by their size and color variations, which range from reddish-brown to black. They are often mistaken for carpenter ants but unlike the latter, they do not nest in wood.

7. Black Garden Ants (Lasius niger)

The black garden ant is a common species known for creating well-defined trails to and from their foraging areas. These ants establish their nests in the ground and can be identified by their dark color and preference for sweet substances.

Ants play a crucial role in the ecosystem, helping to aerate soil and control other pest populations. Maine’s common ant species exhibit diverse behaviors and habitat preferences, making them fascinating subjects for observation. However, some, like carpenter ants, can also pose challenges for homeowners. If you believe you have an ant infestation, especially one involving a potentially damaging species, it’s advisable to contact a pest control professional equipped to handle the situation effectively and safely.