Looking for ways to get rid of ghost ants? Great, you're in the right place!
In this Pest Strategies guide, you'll learn:
- What ghost are and what they look like
- If ghost ants are dangerous
- Steps to get rid of them
- Some prevention tips for ghost ants
Don't be scared...
They aren't actually ghosts - they're just ants. In fact, ghost ants are pretty much the same with ordinary house ants.
Don't be easily deceived by their small size, just like their other ants types, ghost ants rely on the power of their numbers and they are very serious about it.
They swarm both indoors and outdoors as long as there's enough food supply to scavenge. Even worse, their albino like appearance makes it more difficult to easily spot the infestation in its earliest stage. Hence the name ghost ants.
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What Are Ghost Ants?
Ghost ants got their name from the dark brown head and pale yellowish color in their abdomen and legs. Their small size and appearance simply makes it hard to track these ants individually or even in small groups while they're on the move. Ghost ants are dominant in the tropical and sub tropical regions such as Africa, and Central America. You can find them in warm climates throughout the U.S. with many infestations happening in Florida.
A single ghost ant colony is commonly composed of several queens with tens of thousands of workers. With the presence of multiple functional queens, a single colony can effectively branch out to a number of extended nesting sites through budding.
The below video isn't the best quality, but you can see how they scurry around and spread in the cracks of a wall.
Compared to other species of ants, ghost ants don't nest underground by way of ant hills. They typically maintain and grow their colonies inside readily available nesting spots such as unattended piles of dead leaves, logs, and other decomposing organic materials.
Through their minute size, it is easy for ghost ants to infiltrate homes. They can invade your the structure of your house through the smallest holes and crevices. They are usually found indoors nesting behind walls, underneath flower pots, underneath sinks, and other corners of your house where there is enough moisture or water source.
What Do Ghost Ants Look Like?
As mentioned, Ghost Ants have a darkish brown head and a milk-white color through their body and legs. They measure 1.3 to 1.5 mm long.
(Image Credit via Palomar.edu)
Are Ghost Ants Dangerous?
No ghost ants are not dangerous. Fortunately, you won't have to worry about ant bites with these guys because they don't sting. However, ghost ants can easily spread and expand their colonies in a matter of days if they're left unchallenged.
They can conveniently adapt to all corners of your house and are a nuisance to both our eyes and nose.
Their sheer number and continuous search for food and water supply poses a great risk in contaminating your stored food at home. Although they are not as smelly as the odorous house ants, ghost ants give off a weird coconut-like whiff when they are crushed.
So don't crush them!
How To Get Rid of Ghost Ants?
Now, let's get down to business. But instead of picking up your phone and call a professional pest exterminator, it would be better if you try considering these few simple, easy to follow, and proven effective steps in getting rid of these nasty ghost ants.
Understanding the Ghost Ant diet
In exterminating these ants, it is best to first determine the reason why your home gets invaded by such insects. Ghost ants are natural sweet lovers and sometimes get called "sugar ants". Their favorite is honeydew, which is a sugary sticky liquid, made by aphids. They also have an appetite for all those sweet treats found in your home. They are also in constant search for protein sources such as dead insects and various decomposing organic materials.
To effectively eradicate these insects from your home, it would be ideal to secure all your sweets at home such as sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Place them in sealed containers. Clean your cupboards, cabinet drawers, tables, and sinks from time to time in order to eliminate possible food droppings and their scents.
Identify entry points
This step is pretty easy. All you need to do is spot an ant trail inside your home and follow it. This way, you'll be able to find out how these ants are able to infiltrate inside your home. These can be small holes, gaps, and crevices that are naturally present among most households. Once you have identified these entry points, seal them off using caulk.
Search for indoor and outdoor nesting spots
Follow the ant trail from the inside of your home leading to your garden, patio, porch, back/front yard, or lawn. As discussed earlier, ghost ants usually establish their colonies underneath moist and decomposing organic materials such as leaves, branches, and logs. They can also be found under stones and along walkways.
If you don't see a trail leading outdoors, chances are that these ants have already found a secure nesting space inside your home. You can look for them underneath sinks, between cabinets, under plant pots, and inside drawers and cupboards. In some cases, ghost ants establish their colonies behind walls, under the floor, and other hard to reach corners of your home.
Exterminating these insects depends on where you have found them. Ant trails and nests that are easily reachable can be dealt with insecticide sprays. You can buy these chemical sprays in your local stores. Use non-repellent sprays so that ants will not scurry away when you use it on them. They can kill ants upon contact and can be transported back to the colony to kill other ants.
For ghost ants nesting along wall voids and other hard to reach spaces, it is ideal to ant bait stations instead. Place these bait stations alongside ant trails nearest to their colony. This is also applicable for households with children and pets. Baits stations keep the chemicals safe from children's reach while making sure that ants are able to pass through the insecticide and pass it on other members of the colony.
How To Prevent Ghost Ants?
The best way to prevent ghost ants would be to reduce the amount of food (aphids that make honeydew) sources in or around your home. The less food around your home, the less chance a ghost ant colony will settle near your home, and the less chance they'll end up in your home.
If you are maintaining a garden, it is best to keep your trees and shrubs well-trimmed all the time. Throw away all dead leaves and branches scattered on the ground especially those near your home. Make time to check for some cracks, holes, and crevices throughout the structure of your house. Do this at least once a month.
Maintain good sanitation both inside and outside your home. This will help you eliminate all possible nesting grounds for ghost ants. And if you like stacking firewood, make sure that you store it at least a few feet away from your home's main structure.
Final Thoughts On Ghost Ants
Although extremely annoying, ghost ants are very much a pest most homeowners can defeat with the right treatment plan.
In a nutshell, if you can keep the aphid population low around your home, clean up crumbs and other foods within your home, you shouldn't have much trouble with this pest.
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