Ants are a remarkably diverse group of insects, with over 12,000 known species found worldwide. Each species has its own unique characteristics, including differences in body size. Some ants are so small that they are barely visible, while others are large enough to intimidate even the bravest of individuals. With such a wide range of sizes and shapes, ants are an endlessly fascinating group of creatures.
What is the average size of an ant? The ant size can range between 0.75 to 52 mm (1/32″–2.0″). We can take carpenter ants for an example as they are one of the most common types of ants, their size can range from 6 mm to 12 mm (15/64″–15/32″) in length. So even with ants of the same species, there can be discrepancies regarding their size.
The world of ants is incredibly diverse, with thousands of different species found in a wide variety of environments. These ants come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiniest micro-ants to the enormous bullet ants. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the smallest and largest ants in the world, and provide a handy table comparison for easy reference. So let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of ants!
Size of Different Types of Ants: Most Popular Ants
The truth is that these insects range in size a lot, you can find really tiny ants that are just 0.75 mm (0.03 inches) long and also ‘giant’ insects that grow up to 52 mm (2 inches). The size of the ant depends not only on the species but also on the type of a particular ant. Workers and queens, for example, have different sizes. Now let’s see what the size of some of the most popular ants in the USA is.
Carpenter Ants Size
Adult carpenter ants can be between 6 to 12 mm (0.236 – 0.47 in) in length. Carpenter ants are relatively large ant species.
Bullet Ant Size
These reddish-black ants range from 18 to 30 mm (0.7 – 1.18 in) in length. These large insects are known for their severely painful sting.
Fire Ant Size
In general, the size of the worker fire ants ranges from 2 to 6 mm (0.078 – 0.236 in).
Siafu Ants Size
Also known as driver ants, the length of the body of a Siafu ant ranges from 5 to 9 mm (0.2 – 0.35 in).
Army Ant Size
The workers are small, only about 3 mm (0.1 in) long. The heartier soldiers, however, can be between 9 and 14 mm (0.35 – 0.55 in) in length.
Cow Ant Size
Cow ant, or red velvet ant, is actually a parasitoid wasp. The eastern velvet ant is the largest species in the group and can grow up to 19 mm (0.74 in).
Trap Jaw Ant Size
The size of these insects can range between 6 and 12 mm (0.2 – 0.47 in).
Thief Ant Size
These light brown or yellow ants are usually from 1.5 to 2.2 mm (0.06 – 0.086 in) long.
Black Garden Ant Size
Garden ants, also known as common ants, their length from 3 to 5 mm (0.1 – 0.2 in).
Bull Ants Size
These gigantic ants have big eyes and can grow up to 40 mm (1.57 in).
Panda Ant Size
Unlike a lot of other ant species, panda ants don’t have queens, workers, and drones. These insects can grow up to 8 mm (0.3 in).
African Ants Size
African ants are usually bright in color. The length of these insects can range from 2.5 to 15 mm (0.098 – 0.59 in).
Red Harvester Ant Size
These insects are relatively large, around 5 to 7 mm (0.196 – 0.27 in) in length.
Argentine Ants Size
Their workers don’t have any physical differences. They are usually between 2 and 3 mm (0.078 – 0.1 in) long.
Flying Ant Size
Winged swarmers can grow up to 18 mm (0.70 in).
Crazy Ants Size
These ants often have a faint blue iridescence. A crazy ant worker can be anywhere between 2.3 and 3 mm (0.09 – 0.11) long.
Dinosaur Ant Size
The dinosaur ant is considered to be a medium-sized ant species. The adults are usually 9.7 to 11 mm (0.38 – 0.43 in) in length.
Ghost Ants Size
Ghost ants are tiny and pale. That’s exactly why they got such a weird name. Worker ants are around 1.3 – 1.5 mm (0.05 – 0.059 in) long.
Leaf Cutter Ants Size
An adult leaf-cutter ant is usually around 10 mm (0.39 in) long. By the way, the worker’s head capsule is usually at least 1.6 mm (0.06 in) in size.
Pavement Ant Size
Pavement ants are, in most cases, between 2.75 and 3.2 mm (0.1 – 0.12 in) in length.
Pharaoh Ants Size
These ants with a light yellow body are tiny, only about 2 mm (0.07 in) long.
Sugar Ants Size
The size of sugar ants can vary a lot. Adults are usually between 2 and 15 mm (0.07 – 0.6 in) long in size.
Ant Size Comparison Table
|Ant Type||Size: mm | inches|
|Ghost Ant||1.3 – 1.5 mm | 0.05 – 0.059 in|
|Thief Ant||1.5 – 2.2 mm | 0.06 – 0.086 in|
|Pharaoh Ant||2 mm | 0.07 in|
|Argentine Ant||2 – 3 mm | 0.078 – 0.1 in|
|Fire Ant||2 – 6 mm | 0.2 in|
|Sugar Ant||2 – 15 mm | 0.07 – 0.6 in|
|Crazy Ant||2.3 – 3 mm | 0.09 – 0.11|
|African Ant||2.5 – 15 mm | 0.098 – 0.59 in|
|Pavement Ant||2.75 – 3.2 mm | 0.1 – 0.12 in|
|Army Ant||3 mm (soldiers 9 – 14 mm) | 0.1 in (0.35 – 0.55 in)|
|Black Garden Ant||3 – 5 mm | 0.1 – 0.2 in|
|Red Harvester||5 – 7 mm | 0.196 – 0.27 in|
|Siafu Ant||5 – 9 mm | 0.2 – 0.35 in|
|Carpenter Ant||6 – 12 mm | 0.236 – 0.47 in|
|Trap Jaw Ant||6 – 12 mm | 0.2 – 0.47 in|
|Panda||8 mm | 0.3 in|
|Dinosaur Ant||9.7 – 11 mm | 0.38 – 0.43 in|
|Leaf Cutter Ant||10 mm | 0.39 in|
|Flying Ant||18 mm | 0.70 in|
|Bullet Ant||18 – 30 mm | 0.7 – 1.18 in|
|Cow Ant||19 mm | 0.74 in|
|Bull Ant||40 mm | 1.57 in|
Queen Ant Size
It is relatively easy to identify the queen of the colony. Other ants pay a lot of attention to her. The queen has a longer lifespan, and, in most cases, it is much bigger than the other members of the ant colony.
Carpenter Ant Queen Size
The queens from the carpenter ants can grow up to 20 mm (0.78 in).
Flying Ant Queen Size
It can reach 6 to 9 mm (0.23 – 0.35 in) in length.
Fire Ant Queen Size
These queens can live for 7 years and are usually around 6 mm (0.2 in) in length.
Army Ant Queen Size
Army ant queens do not have wings and have an enlarged gaster size. Some of them are really big, even up to a few centimeters.
Leaf Cutter Ant Queen Size
Their queen can grow up to 25 mm (1 in).
Pavement Ant Queen Size
Usually, the queen is about 8 mm (0.3 in) long.
Sugar Ant Queen Size
These queens are relatively big and are, in most cases, anywhere between 15 and 18 mm (0.6 – 0.7 in) in length.
Which Ant is the Biggest in Size?
The truth is that the largest and ever discovered lived almost 50 million years ago. This ant was discovered in fossilized remains in Wyoming, USA. This ant was the size of a hummingbird!
Today, the biggest specie is the bull ant. These giant ants are native to Australia.
It looks like the largest ant species prefer to live in warm countries. For example, bullet ants are also really big and can be found in Brazil, Nicaragua, and some other places with a rainforest climate.
Size of Ant Colony
An ant colony is a rather complicated structure that consists of various groups of ants each of which has its own distinctive functions. The colonies usually have an egg-laying queen, sterile females that act as workers or soldiers, and winged sexual females and males.
The size of the colony will affect the way the ants defend their nests, how they mate, and even how they look like. Of course, ant colonies vary a lot in size. A few ants living in a twig can be a colony and then there are also gigantic supercolonies with millions of insects.
By the way, the colony’s size can change when a new season comes. For example, during summer, there might be around 300 workers per queen, while in winter the number will increase to 2.000 workers per queen!
Supercolonies form when quite a few different ant colonies are sharing a single large area. Until the year 2000, for example, the largest supercolony contained around 306 million worker ants and 1 million queens!
Ant Eggs Size
Ant eggs are tiny and don’t really depend on the species. The eggs might look like small white dots, that is how small the things are. However, ant pupae can be as large (or, sometimes, even larger) as worker ants of the colony.
How Do Ants Compare in Size with Similarly Looking Pests
One of the main reasons why you might want to know the exact size of different ant species is because you want to be able to compare the size of the ants with other insects. Just to find out for sure what pest you are dealing with.
Ants Vs. Termite Size
Termites and ants certainly do share some similarities. Winged ants, for example, can easily get mistaken for termites. However, do bear in mind that the termites are, in most cases, a litter bigger than some ants, their size is usually around 6-10 mm (0.23 – 0.4 in) in length. Also, the wings of the termite are longer than their actual body.
Bed Bug Vs. Ant Size
The size of bed bugs ranges between 1 and 7 mm (0.04 – 0.27 in). In the majority of cases, bed bugs are smaller than ants but do remember that it surely does depend on the type of ant. Another distinctive feature is that the body of a bed bug is flat.
List of Sources
Merchant M., Identifying household ants, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Pie, M. R., & Tschá, M. K. (2013)., Size and shape in the evolution of ant worker morphology, Federal University of Parana
Schmidt, Anna & Linksvayer, Timothy & Boomsma, Jacobus & Pedersen, Jes. (2011). Queen–worker caste ratio depends on colony size in the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), Department of Biology, Centre for Social Evolution, University of Copenhagen
Shetlar D., Bloetscher B., Andon J., Ants In and Around the Home, Ohio State University
Ants, University of Minnesota
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