Ghost Ants Part 2 – How To Get Rid of Ghost Ants

08 February 2024 · 4 min read

Welcome to part 2 of our series on how to get rid of Ghost Ants. In this article, we’ll be learning more about how and why ghost ants enter Florida homes, as well as what you can do to prevent infestations. If you haven’t yet read part 1, click here to find information on identifying ghost ants and the risks they pose.

What attracts ghost ants?

Like all sugar ants, ghost ants love….. (you called it) sugar! What’s interesting though is that ghost ants actually show a greater preference for greasy, protein-based foods like meats, cooking oil, and fried goodies. But don’t get me wrong, leaving a cup of soda out overnight will still attract the horde and make for a frustrating morning.

It’s also important to know that ghost ants regularly require large amounts of water to support their colonies. With this in mind, it’s not surprising to hear that the majority of ghost ant infestations occur in kitchens where these pests have constant access to everything they need.

Where do ghost ants nest?

When found outside, ghost ant nests appear in a wide variety of environments ranging from below leaf piles, within fallen branches, or underneath yard debris such as rocks, bricks, and other discarded construction materials.

Inside, ghost ants prefer tucked away voids behind wall moldings and sometimes between cabinets (especially pantries). Last but not least are another place that receives regular water supply: potted plants. Many of the worst ghost ant infestations have started from nests within houseplants.

How do ghost ants get inside?

Oftentimes the ghost ant infestations we see result from plant overgrowth that touches a home, giving the invaders a bridge that can cross right over perimeter pest defense treatments, but it’s by no means the only way they get inside. Ghost ants’ higher than usual water needs will occasionally cause them to build their nests up against the foundations of homes, right where much of the fallen rainwater collects and saturates the soil, especially underneath debris piles.  Any faults in a home’s foundation can provide entry points for intruding ghost ants.

What can I do to prevent ghost ants?

As with many home pests, the answer is cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness.  It’s so important that I wrote it three times. I know that it’s 2023, and nowadays we all lead the busiest lives imaginable, but we still can’t forget the “Top Way to Keep Bugs Out of Your House (Pests hate this one easy trick)”. To give you a better idea of what I mean, I’ve put together some handy tips and tricks for how to stop ghost ants from seeing your house as their next Florida vacation home.

Outside

Remember that water management and entry point monitoring are key. Spend some time walking the perimeter of your home to catch potential pest issues before they catch you:  

  • Be sure to keep an eye out for any extended branches from trees, shrubs, and bushes that touch the sides of your home. Shorter overgrown plants are often overlooked, but are just as important because they host aphids which ghost ants use to harvest honeydew, a critical food for their colonies.
  • Don’t forget to look for entry points and hiding spots. Deteriorating siding, cracks in the foundation, and even yard litter all serve as flashing “Vacancy” signs to not only ghost ants, but all home pests.  It’s impossible to get to every single nook and cranny, but by sealing off spots where pests might enter, you drastically impact their ability to cause problems inside.  
  • Consider where stormwater pools, and keep an eye on locations that consistently receive large amounts of water. An undershared tip is to carefully consider areas where sprinklers aim near the foundation. Florida is called the “Sunshine State” for a reason, and your grass sure knows what that reason is. A sprinkler consistently supplying water right onto a cracked foundation is a sure recipe for ghost ant activity.

Inside

  • Clean up any spills, splashes, crumbs, and tidbits immediately. And, as much as children bring joy to our lives, we all know that they need a little bit of extra help in this aspect, so don’t forget to keep an eye on little ones during snack times. This also extends to cooking. Ghost ants don’t have much interest in spotless dishes and countertops.
  • Though it may sound silly, drying your sink after use with a cloth or paper towel cuts out the residual water ghost ants are constantly looking for.  
  • Greenhouse also recommends committing to a regular cleanliness schedule. We find that the most effective method is a thorough cleaning day at least once every 3 months.  (Bonus points if you can time them to be right before your quarterly pest services. That way, you can catch pest problems at the perfect time). Don’t forget to also keep up with a deep cleaning at least once or twice per year to give your home the super-strength it needs to fight off the most villainous pests.

How to get rid of ghost ants

When ghost ants start taking over the inside of your home, it’s easy to feel helpless. The simple act of setting down food starts to feel like a race against the clock, and not much is worse than finding your dinner overrun with ants. Before you go running to the hardware store to buy a can of ant spray, keep this in mind: ghost ants have a notorious habit of fragmenting their colonies. This means that your can of spray might kill or deter the ghost ants you see, but now they’ve branched off to start another colony and no one likes bad sequels.  

In order to truly get rid of ghost ants for good, no solution comes close to the effectiveness and reliability of a dedicated pest control provider. Shrub and bush treatments have the capacity to remove the aphids ghost ants rely on so closely, and when paired with a perimeter pest barrier, offers a near-unbeatable combination. Our expert Greenhouse technicians are trained on a Cloud family pest defense legacy nearly 90 years in the making. We are able to eliminate ghost ant problems in Florida with the same professionalism, safety, and compassionate attitude we’ve been perfecting since 1934. If you’d like to learn more about our plan to get rid of your ghost ants for good, we’re just a phone call away.

Phone: (813) 991-0033

References

https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/ants/ghost_ant.htm

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256979597_Worldwide_spread_of_the_ghost_ant_Tapinoma_melanocephalum_Hymenoptera_Formicidae