Learn How to Know if There are Ghost Ants in Your Home and How to Eliminate Them
The ghost ant has traveled the world through trade and commerce, ultimately landing in the State of Florida, as well as other warm-weather states like Texas and Hawaii.
Having originated in either Africa or Asia, the ghost ant, or Tapinoma melanocephalum, has been spotted all around the globe, from Puerto Rico, to the Caribbean, and even in Canada.
It was just a few decades ago when the ghost ant made its way to the United States, and now it terrorizes Florida residents as one of the most common household ants found in the state.
Ghost ants are primarily found from Naples to Bonita Springs, and from Sarasota to Tampa. However, they can also be found throughout Northern Florida.
According to a survey conducted with Florida structural pest control employees, the ghost ant is one of the most common household ants in Florida.
Identifying Ghost Ants
Ghost ants are named for their translucent, or ghost-like, appearance.
They have a see-through abdomen and legs, which seem to vanish while foraging on light surfaces. Their body is so luminous, in fact, that you can see the color of the food it just ate.
Ghost ants are only 1/16-inch long, hairless, and very difficult to see. They have six legs and a dark head — a stark contrast from their translucent legs and abdomen. They also love to eat honeydew and honeydew-secreting insects.
When they are squished, ghost ants give off an odor of rotten coconuts.
When Ghost Ants Get Inside
While ghost ants are not dangerous, they can — albeit rarely — bite.
Ghost ants do not have stingers and rarely bite people, so they are not classified as dangerous. When indoors, ghost ants primarily feed on sweets, greasy food, and other insects while contaminating your food as they forage.
Ghost ants are commonly found in kitchens, wall voids, under sinks, between cabinets, and behind baseboards throughout homes and properties in Florida.
Prevention of Ghost Ants
To keep ghost ants from infiltrating your home or business, the best approach is cleanliness. Food left out will attract ants if not stored in airtight containers — especially sweet treats or greasy leftovers.
Ghost ants typically enter homes through branches or bushes that are in direct contact with the house. To prevent this, homeowners should keep branches cut back away from the house and remove leaf litter and debris.
If you think that ghost ants have infested your home, inspect sinks, toilets, and showers for any leaks. Also inspect electrical outlets, carpet edges, and the area surrounding windows and doors for signs of ants.
Eradication of Ghost Ants
If a ghost ant colony has already made your home their home, there are a few steps you can take to eradicate the pests:
Soap & Water
This is one of the easiest home methods. Mix equal parts dish soap and water, then spray the area where you have spotted ants emerging.
Mix white vinegar with water, maintaining a 2-to-1 ratio. Spray this mixture where you notice ants — it will kill them within minutes.
Ghost ants steer clear of cucumber, especially when it’s bitter. Take thin slices of cucumber and place them where the ants visit. This process will cause them to avoid the spots where you put the cucumber. Leave the slices for about one to two days; repeat if you see new ants.
Turmeric powder is a spice that many people have used to get rid of ants. Liberally apply turmeric powder where the ants have colonized.
Seal up Entry Points
In order to prevent more ants from getting in, plug up the spaces that ants have been using to enter your home. You can use basic sealants to do this.
Pest Management Professionals
If you have a ghost ant problem, contact a pest control company and get your problem fixed immediately.
Although ghost ants don’t pose an outright risk, they are a nuisance that should be dealt with so that they do not continue to colonize your home and ruin your food.