Most Florida ant species want nothing to do with humans or their houses; however, four species will enter your home looking for food.
According to Catseye Pest Control technicians in Southwest Florida, the four most common home-invading ants are ghost ants, crazy ants, white-footed ants, and big-headed ants. It is important to identify the type of ant in your home so that the most effective pest removal method can be utilized.
The most common ant in Southwest Florida is the ghost ant. Ghost ants get their name from the pale color of their legs and abdomen which make them difficult to see. These tiny ants get into houses through openings around windows and doors, through foundation cracks, and can catch a ride in on infected plants or in boxes. Once inside, ghost ants will make their nests in places like wall voids, spaces between cabinets, and flowerpots.
Inside, ghost ants prefer to eat sweets (sugar, cereal, syrup, etc), proteins, and greasy foods, making your kitchen a hotspot for ant activity.
Finding and removing ghost ants can be difficult due to their size and propensity for nesting in odd places. Food crumbs and spills are major draws for most types of ants, so it is best to keep countertops clean and food put away in airtight containers.
Crazy ants are an invasive species that came to the United States from South America. They are reddish-brown to black in color, about 1/8 of an inch long, and have long antennae. Crazy ants get their name from their haphazard movements and seemingly disorganized foraging habits.
As an invasive species, crazy ants do not have any natural predator and will reproduce at alarming rates, creating massive colonies that can take over entire lawns and out-compete other ant populations. While these pests generally nest outdoors in moist crevices, mulch and leaf-litter, crazy ants will enter your home looking for meats and sweets. They have even been known to short circuit electronic equipment.
White-footed ants do indeed have light colored feet which contrasts their black or brown bodies. Measuring about 2.7mm in length, these small ants have similar behaviors to ghost ants, and the reproductive power of crazy ants.
White-footed ants find their way into homes via branches that touch the structure or through small cracks. They build their nests in wall voids and will seek out proteins and sweets when indoors.
White-footed ants are an issue because of their variety of food preferences and the massive size of their colonies. With some colonies reaching up to 3 million ants, white-footed ants can be extremely hard to control or eliminate. They nest in a wide network all connected by trails to the rest of the super colony.
Big-headed ants are another invasive ant species, getting their name from their large heads in relation to their overall body size. Their color ranges from yellow to dark reddish-brown. Big-headed ants prefer to nest in loose soil or in yard debris, but will climb up the sides of homes, entering through cracks in walls or open windows.
These pests are also drawn to kitchens, seeking out greasy foods, sweets and proteins. Outside, big-headed ants will eat other insects, so large populations of bugs can also attract them.
Preventing Ant Infestations
While none of these ants are physically dangerous to humans, they often contaminate food and can take away the comfort you feel in your own home or yard. In general, keeping a tidy home and yard can prevent ants from taking over your property. Removing branches, bushes or other plants that touch your home can also help prevent infestations.
Once infested, eliminating ant colonies can be difficult due to the ants’ size and persistence. Pest control professionals have the knowledge and tools to inspect your home and lawn, including any infested palm or ornamental trees on your property. If you see ants around your home or yard, contact Catseye Pest Control for a no-cost inspection before the infestation gets out of hand.