Trap Jaw Ants

Actual Size: 12 mm

Characteristics: Identified by their distinctly different and strong mandibles; their jaws can open 180 degrees, and trap-jaw ants can bite with an incredible force.


  • There are over 1000 species of trap jaw ants
  • Their mandible snap shut at incredible speeds, up to 145mph.
  • They have multiple kinds of bites, ranging from prey-catching to “defense jumps”, which catapult them out of danger.


Trap Jaw Ant Habits

This species is generally found in tropical areas, though they have been introduced to the Gulf Coast in the last decade. They are currently spreading throughout the Southern region of the United States. Trap jaw ant nests are typically found under dead wood or beneath forest floors. Trap jaw ants typically have small colonies with less than 200 total ants, and only one queen. They eat small insects, but will also eat sweet substances.

Problems with Trap Jaw Ants

The obvious problem is their bite, but trap jaw ants also have a painful stinger. If a nest is threatened, workers will immediately jump at the attacked, stinging and biting. Their stinger is not barbed, and can be used over and over again. Although their venom isn’t fatal, it can produce allergic reactions.

Prevention and Elimination of Trap Jaw Ants

Eliminating potential food sources by keeping your home or business clean is the first and best step of pest prevention. At-home pesticides generally only kill the ants you see, not the colonies themselves. If you’re having difficulty preventing trap jaw ants from returning or expanding their nests, it’s time to call a professional exterminator. Each species of ant can be radically different from the next, and to truly eliminate trap jaw ants, you need a specific pest control treatment plan. It’s always best to call a pest control professional when biting or stinging insects are involved, especially if you or others around you are sensitive to stinging insect venom.