Big-headed Ant

Big-Headed Ant (Pheidole spp.)

Big-head ant major worker
Big-Headed Ants (Pheidole spp.)

Big-headed ant major and minor workers
Description of Workers: Small workers, around 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch (1.5 to 3 mm); yellowish or light to dark brown. The workers are different sizes and some have a very large head in proportion to their body.


Small colonies. These ants build nests in open, well-shaded areas, seldom under items such as logs or stone. You may find nests in soil under shrubs and landscaping beds. The nest consists of numerous small galleries dug in the soil and excavated soil particles are deposited in a crater-shaped mound. Ants forage in easily detected trails. This ant prefers sweets and tends aphids for the honeydew that is produced, but may forage on sweets in the kitchen.


Management includes locating and appropriately treating colonies. Treating using outdoor granular baits may be used, but may not be effective when large colonies are present.

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This resource was updated November 2015 by Soni Cochran, Extension Associate

  • Credits: Ant illustrations were developed by Vicki Jedlicka, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County
  • Photo Courtesy of Harvard University. Photographer: Gary D Alpert

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