What Are Piss Ants?

On my first day as a rosy-cheeked intern at the Archbold Biological Station, a gruff local man saw me watching a Monomorium nest and announced, through an impressive moustache, “Them’s piss ants!”

I didn’t agree. I thought they were just Monomorium. Plus, as best as I can tell, “piss ant” is just a catch-all term for any small nuisance ants.

Anyway. The subsequent quest to determine the true identity of the elusive piss ants was greatly enhanced yesterday by biologist Tom Uil, who sent in this photo from the Netherlands, and May Berenbaum, who confirmed the identification:


That’s a piss ant.