Field Ant

Actual Size: 4 to 8 mm

Characteristics: Large; black, brown, or yellowish to bicolored red and black

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Favors outdoor nests in decayed logs or soil. Nests located in lawns, gardens, fields, and foundations of homes and buildings.


  • Feeds exclusively on outdoor food resources.
  • Field ant mounds are sometimes mistaken for fire ant activity.
  • Produces large mounds that can ruin the appearance of lawns and make lawn mowing difficult.

Field Ants in Vermont

Field ants get their name for their preference of nesting out in the open. Producing large mounds in lawns, playgrounds, and parks, field ants nest in close proximity to humans. With mounds reaching up to three feet wide and up to two feet tall, they can affect grass growth and landscapes. Field ants do not enter homes or structures for food. They exclusively collect food outdoors and feed on live and dead insects, as well as on aphid honeydew. Most field ants cause issues for homeowners when they nest near masonry walls and concrete sidewalks, destroying the appearance of lawns and can make mowing difficult.

Field Ant Habitat

Sometimes referred to as “thatching” or “mound” ants, field ants nest in soil or decayed logs. Nests are composed of small twigs, grass stems, leaves, or pine needles. Shrubs, rocks, trees, sidewalks, fences, and foundations of structures are all popular locations for nesting sites. Unlike most ant pests, field ants do not forage indoors for food. They feed exclusively on outdoor food resources, such as live and dead insects and the honeydew produced by aphids.

Field Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

If field ant nests are disturbed or stood upon, ants will swarm out of the nest, attacking people and pets. Their bite is usually painful, with some species spraying formic acid into the wound, which stings. Field ant bites do not have any long-term consequences, and after a short period of time, the painful sensation subsides. Mounds produced by field ants are unsightly, can prevent turf growth, and can be a hazard when lawns are mowed. If a field ant infestation is suspected, it is best to consult a professional ant exterminator.