Big Headed Ants

Pheidole megacephala

and Pheidole spp.


Foraging Characteristics: Small, light brown to reddish brown to nearly black, dull ants.  Often foraging in columns. Two worker sizes, although the major (larger, soldier worker) is rare. Majors may appear near baits.  Majorís head is disproportionately larger than body.  No workers intermediate in size will be found.  Slow moving.

Nest Sites & Characteristics: Nest in soil or under stones, logs, wood, or debris. P. megacephala foraging trails are sometimes soil-covered and  resemble subterranean termite foraging tubes.  Multiple queens. P. megacephala colonies can be spread out into megacolonies with multiple subnests.  

 

Detailed Description:  2.4 mm (1/10 in) (P. megacephala minors) and 3.8 mm (1/7 in) (P. megacephala majors) long.  Front half of head sculptured, back half-smooth and shiny. Two-segmented petiole, where postpetiolar node is distinctly broader than long and subangular on each side. Twelve-segmented antennae with three-segmented club.  Epinotal spines on propodeum. There are some 15 Pheidole species in Florida. The bilobed head of P. megacephala majors is characteristic. Subfamily Myrmicinae.

Most Common Complaints:  Foragers both inside and outside. Piles of sand and other debris indoors. Outdoor colonies are difficult to control because of multiple nests, so restrict access to buildings.

Flight Season:  June-July. P. megacephala reproduce by budding.

Distribution: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Dixie, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Sarasota, Seminole, and Volusia Counties.

Diet: Living and dead insects. Collect honeydew from sap-sucking insects. Forage for sweets, fats, and proteins in homes.

 

Origin: Old world tropics.