What comes to mind when you think of the word "ghost?" Perhaps you think of a shimmering white form drifting through an attic, or maybe a kid wearing a bed sheet with eye holes cut out of it? Whatever you think of, we'd be willing to bet that you do not think of ants. After all, why would anyone think about ant ghosts? Would they look like tiny little black creatures, wearing tiny little bed sheets all marching in a line? Well, it turns out that there actually is a type of ant in South Florida called "ghost ants," and in this article we're going to tell you a few things about these interesting little creatures.
What are ghost ants?
Ghost ants are difficult to see, that is why they are called ghost ants. They are a, "Now you see 'em, now you don't," kind of ant. These ants are very tiny, and their legs and abdomen are a pale color, which is what causes them to be so hard to see--even though their heads and thoraxes are dark. The smallest of ghost ants are the workers, which are less that 1/16 of an inch long.
Ghost Ants Vs. Sugar Ants
Ghost ants and sugar ants are generally referred to as the same type of ants. Sugar ants are described as any type of ants that are attracted to sugar and can be found scavenging through your home looking for food for the rest of the colony.
Ghost Ants: The Tiny Ants In Florida
Ghost ants are different from other common household ants. They are much smaller and less noticeable than Carpenter Ants, for example. But they can still be a serious problem if left untreated.
Ghost ants are generally around 1.5mm long which makes them much smaller than other ants in Florida, and are generally a deep dark brown or black color with a hint of milky white, which gives them the name "ghost ants".
It's easy to mistake them for other types of small ants at first glance… especially because you might see the occasional worker making its way through your home looking for food.
But ghost ants tend to move in a more erratic pattern… One moment it'll be here, then suddenly over there! It only adds to the confusion as your search for their nest comes up empty-handed.
This makes them extremely difficult to eradicate, especially if their nests aren't nearby or accessible by the average person trying to get rid of sugar ants. In fact, sometimes it feels like they are literal ghosts and can be impossible to find when you're trying to, then show up unexpectedly.
What Are Ghost Ants Attracted To?
Ghost ants are attracted to any home that provides easy access to water, food, and especially sugar. They are looking for places to provide for the rest of their colony by bringing back food and showing them to water sources.
Some interesting facts about ghost ants:
- These ants are tropical and have been found in southern and central Florida for several years. They are generally transported in crates and boxes.
- They can live indoors or outdoors if the weather is warm enough.
- They nest in the ground near stones, logs, woodpiles, moist grass, and plant stems.
- In houses, they usually nest inside wall voids, or behind cabinets and baseboards.
- In the north, ghost ants can only survive inside heated structures.
- Ghost ants feed on sweets, but also like greasy foods and insects
- Like odorous house ants, ghost ants also put off a rotten coconut smell when crushed.
- Ghost ants can get into buildings by climbing in on utility lines or by using tree or shrub branches that touch an outside wall, then they find a gap or crack to squeeze through.
- There are multiple queens in a ghost ant colony, which may split into several colonies.
- These tiny ants do not sting or bite unless their nest is threatened. If they do bite, the result is only mild discomfort.
- Sometimes ghost ant workers can be seen carrying their larvae and pupae to new locations.
- These tiny creatures are generally seen in kitchens and bathrooms searching for food and moisture. Because they often infest a kitchen area, their most important impact may be the transfer of disease organisms.
Instructions on how to get rid of ghost ants.
There are a few things you can do to prevent ghost ants, and other pests, from getting into your home such as carefully sealing up all gaps and cracks in the exterior of your home. The best course of action to prevent or get rid of these pesky ants is to get help from the professionals. Here at Hoffer Pest Solutions, we have been proudly protecting homes in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties from pests since 1975, whether they are hard to see or hard to ignore. Don't put up with ghost ants haunting your South Florida home, reach out to us today.