Honey Ants: Identification, Habitat, Behavior, and Control

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on honey ants. These fascinating ants exhibit a unique adaptation where specialized workers store food in their abdomens, serving as living storage containers for the colony. This guide will explore the Honeypot Ant’s behavior, anatomy, adaptation, and survival strategies.

Honey Ant

Identification of Honey Ants

Honey ants, also known as honeypot ants, have distinct characteristics that help with identification. Here are some key features to look for when identifying honey ants:

  1. Size: Honey ants vary in size depending on the species and caste. Workers are typically smaller, ranging from a few millimeters to around half an inch in length. The repletes or swollen workers responsible for food storage can be significantly larger, with abdomens swollen to several times their normal size.
  2. Coloration: The color of honey ants varies from species to species, but they generally have a light brown to dark brown body color. Some species exhibit variations in color, like golden or amber hues.
  3. Body structure: Honey ants have a distinct body structure with three main body segments: head, thorax, and abdomen. The head is usually proportionate to the body size, and the thorax connects the head to the abdomen. The abdomen is the most noticeable feature, especially in the repletes, as it becomes engorged with food.
  4. Antennae: Like other ants, honey ants have segmented antennae that help them perceive and communicate sensory. The number of antennal segments varies depending on the species.
  5. Swollen abdomen (Repletes): The most distinguishing feature of honey ants is the swollen abdomen of the repletes. These specialized workers have abdomens that can expand to many times their average size as they store food for the colony.

It’s important to note that honey ants belong to different genera, like Myrmecocystus and Camponotus, and multiple species exist within these genera. Therefore, specific identification may require consulting entomological resources or seeking the expertise of professionals.

Latin Name of Honey Ants

The scientific name for honey ants is Myrmecocystus and Camponotus

Behavior and Anatomy

Honeypot ants, also called honey ants, belong to several genera, including Myrmecocystus and Camponotus. They possess specialized workers, repletes, plerergates, or rotunds, whose abdomens swell enormously as they gorge themselves on food. Other ants in the colony extract nourishment from these repletes through a process called trophallaxis, effectively utilizing them as living larders. This unique behavior was first documented by Henry C. McCook in 1881 and further described by William Morton Wheeler in 1908.

The selection of ants to become repletes is influenced by size, as larger ants in the colony are chosen for this role. This selection process minimizes loss of ants from the workforce, ensuring more ants remain available to protect and care for the colony.

Extermination Techniques for Honey Ants

Managing honey ant infestations requires effective extermination techniques. While professional assistance is recommended for severe infestations, here are some commonly used methods:

  1. Baiting: Using ant-specific insecticides in non-repellent baits to target the colony and eliminate honey ants.
  2. Crack and crevice treatment: Applying residual insecticides directly into hiding places and entry points to disrupt nesting sites.
  3. Barrier sprays: Applying residual insecticides along the perimeter of buildings and ant trails prevents honey ants from entering indoor spaces.
  4. Sanitation practices: Removing food sources and maintaining a clean environment to discourage ant activity.
  5. Professional pest control: Seeking professional ant control services for severe or persistent honey ant infestations.


Honey ants are truly remarkable ants with their unique behaviors and storage capabilities. Understanding their identification, behavior, and nesting habits is crucial for effective control. If you’re facing a honey ant infestation, consider our professional ant control services to ensure thorough and successful management. By gaining knowledge about honey ants, you can protect your space and appreciate the intriguing world of these fascinating ants.