They are called ghost ants because of the size and color of their legs. Their pale legs and abdomens are small, making it harder for you to identify them. The worker ants measure 1.5 mm in length and feature dark thoraxes and heads. When crushed, they emit a coconut-like smell.
Habits, Behavior and Diet
These tropical ants have lived for years in some parts of Florida. They travel from one place to another in crates, boxes, potted plants and household goods. Since they find it hard to survive extremely cold conditions, they live in warm greenhouses and buildings in northern states.
When they are not in a house, they establish their nests underground. You can find their nests beside logs, stones and piles of firewood. They get into houses and apartments through the trails they made along the ground. At times, they enter buildings by trailing on limbs of trees and utility lines. Inside a house, ghost ants tend to make nests in wall voids, baseboards and flowerpots. One colony can split into multiple nests. That is the reason you can see these ants trailing to and from many nests sites.
They feed on honeydew collected from insects that live on plants, such as aphids. Worker ants collect insects to meet the needs of the entire colony. Usually, ghost ants prefer to live on sweet things when they are indoors.
Queens produce a large number of eggs expanding their species. New colonies get formed as a result of a special process called budding when a queen along with several workers gets separated from a big colony to set up a new one. Based on the number of queens, many colonies can come into existence.
Do They Bite?
Ghost ants won’t bite or sting you unless you attack their nests. If bitten, you may feel slight pain and discomfort. However, if your house is infested with them, you have a big problem to deal with as these pests can set up nests inside and outside your house. Inside a house, they like to feed on sweets and other greasy insects and foods. Since they love to dwell in kitchens and bathrooms, food items get infected with disease-carrying organisms.
Ghost Ant Infestation
If ghost ants are running around your house carrying food, you have a ghost ant infestation.
If you want to prevent an ant infestation, the first thing you need to do is to walk around in your house inspecting each area. Your next step is to take a look at the external areas of your house to look for places that can catch the eyes of ghost ants. Make sure there are no piles of firewood in your house. Similarly, remove the mulch from your home foundation to keep the ants away. The exterior doors should be closed snugly and any missing weather stripping should be replaced. If you live in a brick house, use plastic screens to close weep holes so that the ants can’t enter your house.
You need to be patient if you want to control ghost ants on your own. Since these ants may have several nests in your house, it is best that you hire a pest control professional to deal with this kind of problem.