Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (2018)
Common Name(s): Rover Ant
Rover worker ants are small (about 1/16″), uniform in size (monomorphic), and vary in color from black, dark brown, to pale blonde. They have 9-segmented antennae without a club, a 1-segmented petiole which is hidden under the abdomen and they do not possess a stinger. The thorax is uneven in shape and the front portion is humped.
Origin and Distribution
Rover ants were rarely considered as a nuisance pest ant. However, since 2015 in Texas, this ant has become more and more prevalent throughout the state. Pest Management Professionals are reporting increased incidents of rover ants inside of structures. These ants are of little economic and medical importance because they do not bite or sting. However, they can be a nuisance in areas where ants are not tolerable, particularly indoors, and can be hard to eliminate.
Habitat & Hosts
Colonies are small ranging in from hundreds to a few thousands members. They contain only one queen per colony. Colonies are usually found in the soil or rotting wood but they will nest in potted plants, wall voids and other harborages. Colonies are commonly associated with soil dwelling aphids and mealy bugs that produce honey dew, a sugary liquid extracted from plants on which these sucking insects feed.
Colonies are formed by mating flights of winged male and female individuals. These flights usually occur in the evening during summer months and winged sexual (alates) are attracted to lights.
Two species are positively identified in Texas, B. depilis and B. obscurior. It is widespread throughout the state and B. obscurior is known to be in the southern portion of the state. It is thought that there may be a third species that has recently been brought to Texas. The population and distribution of Brachymyrmex ants in Texas is expanding.
Egg, larva, pupa and adult.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
Non-chemical or cultural controls should be considered for controlling these ants first. Infestations are often associated with moisture and or fungal decay. Correction of moisture problems will help with control. Any wood that is severely damaged due to water should be replaced. Around the home, remove or treat nesting areas under landscape timbers or rocks.
Rover ants have proven to be one of the more difficult ants to control. They seem to be not attracted to many liquid or granular ant bait formulations. Find entry points on exterior of structure and seal if possible and/or treat with a contact insecticide. Gel baits and dusts may be used in electrical sockets for indoor control. If ants are in a void area, an aerosol may be used. Always follow all pesticide label directions.
Rover Ants, Urban and Structural Entomology Program at Texas A&M University.