Big Headed Ant

Actual Size: 1.5 to 4.5 mm

Characteristics: Range in color from dark brown through shades of red to light yellow. Workers have an unusually large, heart-shaped head.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: The reproductive males and females have wings.

Habitat: Builds nests near water sources. Outdoors, nests are located beneath boards, stones, or at the base of shrubs. Indoors, will build nests in wall voids and insulation.


  • Feeds on sweets, live and dead insects
  • Workers use their large jaws to crack seeds and other food for the colony
  • Colonies can reach a tremendous size, with extended nests and multiple queens

Big Headed Ants in Puerto Rico

Big headed ants get their name from the large heads of their worker ants and can be found infesting homes across the San Juan area. They are known for making large nests in the sand throughout a lawn or landscape, big headed ants excavate soil, bringing it up through crevices in driveways, patios, and pavers on the exterior of homes. Most species build nests next to foundations where they construct mud tubes, which can be mistaken for subterranean termites.

Big Headed Ant Habitat

Big headed ants move quickly and build large colonies with distinct nests, frequently nesting in disturbed habitats like driveways and lawns. Homeowners are annoyed by these piles of sand and by ants foraging into bathrooms, kitchens, around doors, and windows, as well as on exterior paved or brick walkways or driveways. They will also nest in leaf litter, firewood, fences, and within walls.

Big Headed Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Big headed ants do not generally bite unless disturbed, and even then, their bite is not painful. These ants can cause issues for homeowners as they hunt for food, inside and outside of homes, leaving behind piles of debris and dirt. Infestations can be found near structures, ornamental plant bases, sidewalks, and driveways. Owners of infested buildings typically complain about finding hundreds of both live and dead ants. Control is difficult because unless the entire super colony is treated, there is a high probability of reinfestation. If you suspect a big headed ant issue, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator.