The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Brown House Ant

Afrikaans name:

Brown House Ants

Brown House Ants are an invasive species

Photo © Steven Herbert

Pheidole megacephala

Welcome to an insect that has been nominated as one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world! It is disputed as to whether they were first identified in Mauritius or Egypt but either way they have spread across the world. Although this species is called the Brown House Ant it doesn't often enter houses.

Unlike the similar Argentine Ant, the Brown House Ant does not walk in lines in a follow-the-leader fashion. Brown House Ants do not seem as attracted to sweet foods as are many other species of ants, but they do make short work of dead or injured insects.

The specific name megacephala refers to the large size of the heads of the soldier ants whose function is to provide defence for the nest, and the more numerous worker ants. The Americans actually call this species the Big-headed Ant. At various times during the year there will be an eruption of winged ants who set off to form new colonies.

References and further reading

Suburban Wildlife in KZN - Author: Dr. Jason Londt - Published: 2009 - Page: 90

Suburban Wildlife in KZN - Author: Dr. Jason Londt - Published: 2009 - Page: 92

African Insect Life - revised edition - Author: S.H. Skaife - Published: 1979 - Page: 251


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