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Big Headed Ant

How To Control Big-Headed Ants

It’s amazing the different number of ants that can invade a home. If you come down with an ant infestation one season, the next season you may encounter a totally different species of ant with different tendencies and characteristics. One such ant which can be a problem is the big-headed ant which are often mistaken by homeowners to be termites since they are larger than the average ant.

Big-headed ants are light brown to dark reddish brown in color, and have two distinct sizes of worker ants.  One size is an ⅛ of an inch long, has an enormous head and is referred to as the major worker.  The minor workers are 1/16 of an inch and do not have large heads but can be recognized by their head shape, which narrows abruptly behind the eyes.  

Big-headed ants are more common in warmer areas of the country and are a particularly large problem in Southern states like Florida and Texas as well as Hawaii. Big-headed ants are also soil-dwelling ants and are known to nest under logs or rocks or even under the slab of a building. They often enter structures through cracks or seams in the foundation and around windows and doors. While they may not set up a nest inside homes, they do often enter homes while foraging for food and water.

If you have a problem with big-headed ants on your property, there are ways to eliminate this frustrating pest. Whether you’re looking for control products or free advice from DIY experts, Solutions Pest and Lawn has everything you need to get rid of big-headed ants.

Browse our big-headed ant control products below. If you have any questions or concerns call or email us or chat with us live online and we will be happy to help you.

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How To Get Rid of Big-Headed Ants: Solutions 4 Step Process

Controlling ants, especially one as stubborn as the big-headed ant, can be tricky if you go in without a solid plan. The best approach is to have a multi-faceted plan if you want to achieve results in getting rid of a big-headed ant infestation. Solutions Pest & Lawn recommends a combination of baits, granules and sprays for controlling big-headed ants along performing exclusion and sanitation tasks designed to make your home less welcoming. Below are some of the steps we suggest for the greatest success in managing this pest.

Step 1: Every good ant control program starts with a detailed inspection. When it comes to big-headed ants, you need to start your inspection outdoors and then work your way indoors. Pay particularly close attention to the soil and if need be lift items in contact with the soil to check underneath for ant colonies. Examine the ants themselves to make note of their trails and runways. Indoors, big-headed ants can be found in walls and voids, and around wherever there is dampness and moisture.

Step 2: Destroy Ant mound and/or nests. Once nesting sites or ant mounds are located treat them immediately by applying an insecticide such as
Reclaim IT Insecticide or FiPro Foaming Aerosol. Spray to the point of drenching the nest, the insecticide will then work to kill the entire population. Make sure to keep pets and children away until the treated area has been dried.

Step 3: Once the mound has been treated, there are likely many ants still out foraging. We recommend using granules such as
Bifen LP Granules to take care of the remaining outdoor population.

Step 4: For ants that have made their way indoors, we recommend using baits over sprays. Try a slow-acting bait like Extinguish Ant Bait. To judge whether a bait is effective in eliminating the indoor ant problem, simply monitor whether the placement is being visited or decreasing in size. If not, switch to another bait until you find one that the big-headed ants will accept. Please allow at least 2 weeks for the bait to work. Do not be discouraged if ants are not picking up bait immediately. Be patient when it comes to baiting as it can be a slower process but is effective.

Learn More About The Big-Headed Antbig headed ant

Usually in everyday language when someone is overly proud or conceited we say that they have a “big head”. In the big headed ants case, they are called that not because of their attitude or the way they see themselves, but quite literally because of the size of their head compared to the rest of their body. If you have an infestation of big-headed ants on your property, it’d be best to know more about them before proceeding with control measures.

How Does a Big-Headed Ant Look?

Like most ant species, the big-headed ant has a caste system which consists of workers, and reproductives such as the queen and the way they look vary a slight bit as well as their size. Big-headed ants have major and minor workers ants. Minor workers, like their name states, are smaller in size compared to major workers, reaching up to about 2mm long. Minor workers however are easily the largest in number in a big-headed colony. Major workers can grow up to 4mm long.

Big-headed ants are light to reddish brown or they can also be dark colored to almost black. The front portion of their head is sculptured while the back of the head is smooth and shiny. Worker ants have curved antennae with a 12 segmented club and their bodies are covered in long hairs. The ants that actually have disproportionately large heads that are larger than the rest of its body are the worker ants. The queen ant is the largest in the colony and has wings to set them apart.

The Big-Headed Ant’s Habitat and Eating Habits

The Big-headed ant loves areas that have a warmer tropical climate with lots of moisture. They have been most prominently found in Australia as well as in Florida and Hawaii in the U.S. and they’ve been becoming more spread into the mainland United States.


Big-headed ants typically make their nests in the soil under logs, stones, or trees but may also be found in the soil of potted plants, around the foundation of a home under the slab, and inside decaying wood. Big headed ants typically leave trails covered in soil when they are scavenging for food which look similar to termite mud tubes. The big-headed ant species is also known for creating several interconnecting nests within a colony forming one giant supercolony which consists of multiple queens.


The big-headed ants diet consists of both living and dead insects, small invertebrates, as well as the honeydew produced by aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and planthoppers. Big-headed ants will even forage indoors in human dwellings in search of sweets, oils and proteins.

Big-headed Ant Life Cycle

Big-headed ants go through a complete metamorphosis with large population of fertile queens which breed all year round thanks to the tropical climates in which they live. Each queen in a colony of big-headed ants is known to lay at least 300 eggs every month. Within 2-4 weeks, the eggs hatch and the larvae, after being nourished by the worker ants, pupate about one month later. After the pupa phase, new adult worker ants emerge from the colony which occurs around the summertime. Worker ants can live between 38 and 78 days.


Big Headed Ants Threat To Humans

Big-headed ants can be a problem for two particular reasons.  Firstly, they are persistent foragers and will scavenge for food both inside and outside the home. Secondly, big-headed ants are known to leave piles of dirt and other debris inside homes and in trails leading to and from their colonies. These foraging trails are noticeable along tree trunks, sometimes climbing up the sides of trees. If ants have ventured indoors for food, trails may also be seen along the exteriors of homes.


It may be a relief to note that big-headed ants do not sting or cause any significant structural damage. Under rare circumstances does the big headed ant bite, usually when they feel their life is threatened.


Big-headed Ant Management

A good big-headed ant control program should start by locating and removing any nesting sites around the home. Most colonies have nests outdoors, and will not bother humans, but when they are looking for food they will start to move indoors if their nests have been set up close to a home.


If a big-headed ant colony has been established near your home, it should be of great concern because their colonies can just get bigger and bigger since they are known for creating supercolonies or megacolonies. If the population is big enough, their ant mounds will be clearly visible, you won’t be able to miss it. Once you see an ant mound, there are a few options you can take:


1. Drenching the Nest:  You can choose to drown the big-headed ants and their nests with an insecticide. We recommend a mixing a product like Reclaim IT . Bear in mind though that this may nay totally eliminate the big-headed ant problem, merely the ones staying in the nest. There could be hundreds to thousands of big-headed worker ants out foraging for more food.

2. Baiting:  If nests cannot be located but you have been encountering ants inside your home, you next best option is to use bait. Protein and oil based baits work best for big-headed ants. Our personal recommendation is Ant-Trax Ant Bait Gel.

3. Dusting:  Dust pesticides are used to penetrate difficult to reach spaces such as wall voids and tight cracks. Our top recommendation for dusting is D-fense Dust.


Ways to Prevent Big-Headed Ant Infestations

While a large infestation of Big-headed ants can be quite tough to treat without the use of professional DIY pest control products we have mentioned, smaller infestations or preventing re-infestations after they have been eliminated can be quite simple and would not require pesticide chemicals most. Here are some steps we suggest to keep big-headed ants away.


1. Sanitation: Big-headed ants only come indoors when they are looking for food and love foods which are oil and greasy. Keep your home clean and wipe up any spills immediately. Also, store away your food in tight containers and take out your garbage regularly.

2. Eliminate points of entry:  Eliminating any possible entryways into your home by sealing up gaps and hopes with caulk or Black Foam. Seal up areas such as cracks or crevices in the foundation, exterior walls, doors, or windows will ensure that these ants cannot get in.

3. Environmental Modification:  You want to make the areas around your home less conducive or appealing to big-headed ants. This can be done by clearing up leaf litter around your home and placing material like lumber, firewood, loose soil, mulch, and garbage away from the exterior walls and foundation of your home.


While the big-headed ant isn’t as aggressive as other ant species they can be a concern around your home if they’ve set up a nest. They’ll soon enough be looking towards your home as a place to look for food sources when they forage if nothing is done about it. We hope this information was helpful in your quest to battle against a big-headed ant infestation.

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