The ghost ant is considered a nuisance ant pest that is a house pest throughout South Florida. It is the smallest ant found in homes, it is often described as a small spider like ant.
The Ghost Ant A Tramp Ant
The ghost ant is related with ant species also known as tramp ants that are broadly dispersed in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. The fact is the ghost ant was once referred to as the “tramp ant.” In the US, the ghost ant is well established throughout Florida, and it is expanding.
Description Of Ghost Ant In Florida
In Florida, among residential and commercial pest control the Ghost ant is among the most difficult to control of the 8 most common found ant species. Ghost ant workers are very small about 1/16 long and show no variation in morphology.
Ghost Ant Nesting Habits
Ghost ants are highly adaptable in their nesting habits. The colonies generally occupy local sites that are too small to support large entire colonies. Foragers are very often seen primarily in kitchens and bathrooms on sinks, counter tops, or on floors. Inside homes, the ants will colonize wall spaces, cracks, between books, a void between cabinets, and baseboards, they will also create a nest in potted plants.
Ghost ant colonies are broken into sub-colonies that will occupy different nesting sites throughout the home, they will exchange back and forth along pheromone or odor trails. They are opportunistic nesters in places that will only remain habitable for a few days or weeks. Each ant colony has between 100 to 1000 ants.
Outdoors nesting generally occurs in disturbed areas, such as in flower pots, under loose bark, under objects on the ground, and at the bases of palm fronds.
They have multiple queens spread out through multiple sub-colonies. New colonies are generally formed by budding, this happens when one or more female reproductives are accompanied by several workers, and some brood leaves a colony for a new nesting site starting a new sub colony. The colonies are not antagonistic having any infighting between members of another colony or nests this is why they can be so prolific indoors.
Ghost Ant Reproduction
Reproduction through the laying of eggs. There are 4 larval stages from the hatching of the eggs to the adult stage. It is estimated that the queens lay about 5 eggs per day per queen. If you have 20 queens in your home that would be about 100 eggs per day or 700 per week. Egg development lasts between 16 to 52 days.
Feeding Habits Of Ghost Ants
Ghost ants can not only invade homes from the outside, however, they can nest in homes as well. In the landscape, the workers scavenge around for dead insects and they have a symbiotic relationship with plants sucking insects like scale, aphids, and mealybugs collecting honeydew.
Ghost ants are in the same genus as odorous house ants. But the ghost ant is smaller and of a different color, the OHA is dark brown to black.
Control Of Ghost Ants
The best approach to ant control ghost ants in the home is cleanliness. Any food or food particles can attract the ant.
Frequent application of sugar liquid and gel baits are the most effective at controlling ghost ants indoors, outside a periodic application barrier treatments with a combination of liquid and granular insecticides are required to control them effectively.