Ghost Ants are a common pest in Florida and are typically discovered foraging in kitchens. A consistent call that we receive at ReliaPro Pest Control is a homeowner complaining about small ants infesting their kitchen. They often refer to these ants as sugar ants because of there feeding behaviors. Below we will describe in detail for those who are willing to take on the challenge of combining multiple tactics to gain control and get rid of ghost ants.
Identifying Characteristics: The workers are small, 1.3-1.5 mm long. The head and thorax are dark while the gaster and appendages are light. These almost translucent characteristics is where their common name (ghost ants) comes from.
Biology and Habitat: Ghost ants have moderate to large colonies with numerous queens. New colonies are formed by budding and workers move along trails between nests. Nests are found in humid habitats such as soil,within leaf litter, palm trees, potted plants, behind baseboards and even inside window frames. In homes ghost ants tend to forage on sweets but they also feed on proteins. Ghost ants are many times found on plants because they tend Hemopterans for the honeydew they secrete.
Inspection: Be patient and thoroughly inspect the property. Try to identify any entry points or nesting sites. If any trails are identified try to use a bait gel to increase the trail activity which may help identify a near by nest.
Exterior Treatment: If you are able to a locate a nest outside use an insecticide that is labeled to directly treat ants such as a pyrethrin. If a nest cannot be located use a non-repellent and not a knockdown agent to treat the perimeter of the property. Use an insecticide with an active ingredient such as fipronil that allows the ghost ants to take the insecticide back to the nest. The reason why one does not want to apply a residual/repellent insecticide when they can't find the ghost ant nests is because these products can stress the ants and cause budding. This treatment may only kill the foraging ants and cause the colonies to multiply. Once control is rendered a residual insecticide can be used to treat the perimeter.
Interior Treatment: For indoor treatment a baiting program is the way to go. A residual indoor treatment can have the same affect as on the outside and not provide any long term results. Remember that treating these ants correctly involves patience which allows the slow acting baits time to do what they were designed for. Through monitoring one may determine which bait is being accepted and use a protein or sweet based bait(Maxforce ant gel bait). Selectively place baits where ants have been foraging and allow them to take the bait back to the nest undisturbed.
Additional IPM Methods:
Caulk and seal any possible identified entry points around the property
Practice good sanitation
Remove any possible harborages on the property such as mulch,piled lumber, or pots
Trim any trees or vegetation that may be assisting the ghost ants to travel to the home and maybe bypass any insecticide treatments
Repair any conducive condition such as leaky pipes or poor draining around the home
If you have any questions on the treatment process or would like to have us inspect your property please call us at 786-299-3683 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org