Ghost Ant: Facts, Identification & Control
The ghost ant gets its name from the pale color of its legs and abdomen. These ants have dark heads and thoraxes. . The legs, antennae, and abdomen are so light that these ants are often difficult to see. Ghost ants are tiny ants. The workers are about 1/16 long.
Ghost ants are related to odorous house ants. Like the odorous house ants, ghost ants give off an unpleasant odor when they are crushed.
Ghost ants have been in south and central Florida for several years. They are easily transported in boxes, crates, potted plants, and even in household goods that are being shipped. In northern states, these ants have only been known to survive in heated buildings and greenhouses.
These ants eat honeydew that they collect from plant-feeding insects. They often tend aphids to collect the honeydew. The workers also gather insects to feed the colony. When they are indoors, ghost ants seem to prefer sweets.
Outdoors, ghost ants make their nest in the ground. They often nest beside stones, logs, and firewood piles. They enter buildings on trails that they make along the ground. They also enter houses by trailing on utility lines or by following limbs of trees and shrubs that touch the house.
When ghost ants make nests indoors, it is usually in cracks and crevices. They also nest in flowerpots, behind baseboards, and inside of wall voids. They often nest in places that are too small for the entire colony to fit. This causes the colony to split into several nests. It is normal to find ghost ants trailing between multiple nesting sites. Ghost ants have a high
A thorough inspection is the first step in preventing ghost ant problems. Around the outside of the house, look for places that might attract ghost ants. Move firewood piles away from the house. Pull mulch away from the foundation to create a dry zone that the ants (and other insects) will avoid. Make sure exterior doors close snugly. Replace weather-stripping where it is missing. People who live in brick houses often place small squares of plastic screen into weep holes to keep ants from using them as entrances.
Controlling ghost ants requires time and patience. Because there can be multiple nesting sites, these ants are usually best left to a pest control professional.