Ghost Ants

Tapinoma Melanocephalum

Ghost Ants are also known as sugar ants. These are one of the smallest ants in South Florida, workers are monomorphic and measure about 1/16” long. Because the head and thorax are dark in color, they are hard to see on dark surfaces. Sugar ants are most often seen in the kitchen and bathrooms trailing on countertops, sinks, and cabinets. Indoors they prefer to feed on sweets, but they will also feed on grease. Outdoors, they prefer to feed on honeydew from honeydew-excreting insects, but also feed on dead and living insects for proteins.

Initially home-owners spot foragers crawling erratically looking for food. Once the forager finds a suitable food source that has the right nutritional needs the ant will go back to the nest to recruit more workers. When the forager goes back to the nest it will leave a pheromone trail so his friends can locate the food. A few minutes later hundreds of sugar ants appear in single line format trailing back and forth to the food source. Outdoors, they nest in cavities and voids such as under mulch, rocks, firewood piles, and in the soil of potted plants. Indoors, they nest in wall voids, behind baseboards, and between cabinets.

Their colonies become large quickly with many queens and new colonies are started by splitting, a process known as budding. Ghost ants move rapidly and erratically when disturbed.

How sugar ants get inside my home?

Ghost ants are so tiny that it is literally impossible to stop them. Sugar ants gain access to the home or businesses by cracks in the foundation, gaps in window seals, gaps in utility line access, under the doors, soffit vents, etc.

Caulking cracks or gaps will help to keep larger ant species and roaches away but does little to prevent sugar ants. Ghost ants are attracted to foods, so the best practice is to keep your kitchen clean and store foods in air-tight containers. Sugar ants are attracted to sugary products so make sure items like syrups, honey, and cereals are sealed.

Regular wiping down of counters and vacuuming your floors will greatly increase the deterrence

How to control sugar ants?

Having a clean house and limiting access to sugary foods is a very important practice that will help reduce the number of ghost ants inside your home.

The reality is that no amount of cleanliness or caulking will prevent sugar ants from finding the way inside your South Florida home. Once ghost ants become established it is impossible to eliminate without the help of a pest control professional.

Our technicians will use a combination of eco-friendly gel baits and non-repellent insecticides in key areas of your home. In 24 to 48 hours the entire colony will be decimated.

GOTBUGSIKILL pest control programs in Florida are affordable and will keep your home free from sugar ants and other pests. Some customers try over the counter sprays before calling us such as Raid or Home Defense. These products only kill the foragers which is about 10% of the colony. This is temporary fix that only last for a few hours, more will show up the next day. Terro is the only over the counter product you can buy that will give you some relief from sugar ants.

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