Black House Ants

The black house ant (Ochetellus glaber) is a native ant species to Australia. They are usually around 5mm long and have a dark glossy appearance. Although black ants don’t carry diseases themselves, they can cross-contaminate when they march across food or your kitchen.

Black house ants characteristics

Black house ant
kingfisher /
  • Scientific Name: Ochetellus glaber
  • Colour: black, glossy
  • Legs: 6
  • Body: Oval thorax, two-segmented pedicel, male ants have wings
  • Size: Workers are approximately 2.5 - 3mm, queens can measure up to 5 mm
  • Antennae: 2 antennas, consisting of 12 segments
  • Bites or stings: Does not sting, it bites
  • Region: Australia

Black house ant life cycle

  • It takes up to 6 weeks for an egg to hatch but that period also depends on the weather. Once they hatch their bodies go through several different stages of developments before they become fully developed black ants.
  • They hatch as larvae in the form of a white grub with a narrow end. The larvae are fed by the adult ants.
  • When the larvae pupate the small ants look like adults, but they’re white. Sometimes they can have cocoon protecting them.
  • When the ants are fully developed they emerge three body parts: a head, thorax and abdomen
  • Eggs that are fertilized become females, the eggs that are not fertilized become males.

Black house ant habits

  • The black house ants almost always built nests underground, under stones, in cracks and holes in the foundation, or rotten wood.
  • The black ants are omnivorous. They form long trails seeking for sweet substances or other insects to hunt.
  • Black house ants have defined roles in their colony. Each nest has a queen. She usually stays in the nest, mating with the fertile male ants. The worker ants are sterile females, Their role is to build the nest, take care of the larvae and scout for food and water.
  • Winged reproductive females and males make a mass flight and mate in the air. After mating the males die and the females shed their wings and come back to the nest.

Learn more about: How to Get Rid of Ants Inside

Facts about black house ants

  • If the colony is old enough, the ants will be bigger since worker ants tend to increase in size throughout the generations.
  • A colony of black ants consists of around 4000 to 7000 ants. Even though this number might seem high, there have been recorded cases of colonies of up to 40 000 specimens.
  • The queen is the biggest in size. She is a hulking colossus compared to her loyal subjects. The black ant queen comes around 9 mm, it can grow to 15mm and can be with or without wings. The queen is glossy black and brown stripes on her bottom.
  • A black ant queen lives for about 15 years, on average. If you think that’s a long time better put that in the back of your head. There have been recorded cases where a black ant queen has made it to the impressive age of 30.

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