Trap Jaw Ant


Actual Size: 12 mm

Characteristics: Slim, black to dark brown. Identified by their strong mandibles.

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Construct nests in soil, leaf litter, and rotting logs. Will nest in the mulch underneath hedges of landscaped areas near homes, commercial buildings, malls, and hotels.


  • Active hunters with venomous stings and a powerful bite.
  • Their mandibles snap shut at incredible speeds, up to 145 mph.
  • Will use their mandibles to not only attack predators, but to escape from them.

Trap Jaw Ants in SE Louisiana and Mississippi

Trap-jaw ants are active hunters with venomous stings and jaws strong enough to fling themselves through the air. Found throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, they use their powerful mandibles to attack other ants and to escape predators. Their powerful jaws allow them to hurl themselves away from predators. When foraging for food, trap-jaw ants may wander into homes and businesses where they become an issue. Their painful bite, venomous sting, and aggressive behavior when their nest is threatened make them a serious ant pest.

Trap Jaw Ant Habitat

Building small colonies with only one queen and less than 200 ants, trap-jaw ants nest in soil, leaf litter and rotting logs. They are typically found beneath forest floors or dead wood.  In urban areas, trap-jaw ant nests are located in mulch underneath hedges near homes, commercial buildings, malls, and hotels. The favorite foods of trap-jaw ants are small insects and sweet substances.

Trap Jaw Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

The obvious threat regarding trap-jaw ants is their painful bite. Scientists have found that the ant’s jaws accelerate at 100,000 times the force of gravity. When snapping their jaw shut, trap-jaw ants can reach speeds up to 145 mph, exerting forces 300 to 500 times the ant’s body weight! In addition, they possess a painful stinger. If a nest s threatened, workers will immediately attack the intruder, stinging and biting. The trap-jaw ant can sting repeatedly, as their stinger is not barbed.  Although their venom isn’t fatal, it can produce allergic reactions. If you suspect a trap-jaw ant infestation, it is best to consult a professional ant exterminator.