Aphaenogaster cockerelli require hot climates, and are usually found in arid intermountain plateau regions and level areas near streams. In the south, these ants may be found at elevations as high as 7000 feet, but usually stay between 2500 and 5000.
This species builds a nest in which the entire colony lives. This nest is abnormally large for the size of the organism. The shape of the nest vaguely resembles that of a volcano. Roughly conical, with a base diameter of up to six feet, it tapers up to a crater constructed of course gravel and excavated soil in the center, which leads in to a hole. The hole itself, which is the actual entrance to the nest, can be up to three to four inches across (Wheeler, 1934: 347).