Field ant is a name that many people use for a group of ant species. Field ants make their nests in the soil. They usually make their nests in fields and pastures. The workers often build a mound on the surface with the dirt that they excavate from the tunnels. Field ants can become pests when they make their nest in a lawn, a golf course, or a sports field.
Many field ant species are known by other names as well. People confuse some field ants with ants that are pests of people and their property. The black field ant is often mistaken for the black carpenter ant. The red and black field ant known as the Allegheny mound ant is frequently mistaken for the fire ant. A careful examination can show the difference, but homeowners are often startled to see one of these ants around their home.
Field ants feed on insects and honeydew. The field ant workers care for aphids that produce the honeydew. Field ants seldom infest homes, but the workers may come inside looking for food. They are often seen on decks and patios foraging for food that may have been spilled.
Field ants can also become pests in late summer when the winged ants swarm out of their colonies. The male and female ants fly in large numbers to find mates and start new colonies. They often land on buildings and sometimes they get inside.
If winged field ants get into the home, a vacuum cleaner is the quickest solution. Take the vacuum bag outside and dispose of it in the trash. Keep trash containers closed with lids that fit tightly. Store cans that are being saved for recycling outside and away from the house. Check the exterior doors to be sure they close tightly and replace any missing weather-stripping.