Everything You Need To Know About Ghost Ants 

08 April 2024 · 3 min read


What are Ghost Ants in Florida?

People often use the term sugar ants to describe ghost ants, however, that name is not accurate. They belong to a category of sugar ants distinguished by their translucent appearance. However, it’s worth noting that many ant species nesting indoors can be categorized as sugar ants. Although we will focus on ghost ants, the preventative measures can also be applied to all types of sugar ants.  

Ghost ants are exceptionally small, much tinier than the regular ants typically found in your bathrooms. Their translucent bodies make them particularly challenging to detect compared to other pests, such as roaches and spiders. If you happen to encounter ants appearing half dark and half-light, they are likely either ghost ants or pharaoh ants. The distinguishing feature lies in their coloration: ghost ants have a dark front and lighter rear, while pharaoh ants have a light front and dark rear.  

While ghost ants can bite, it’s a rare occurrence usually limited to direct defense of their nest. Fortunately, their bites are typically harmless and hardly noticeable. The annoyance of dealing with ghost ants arises from their constant presence on countertops and in cabinets, and their tendency to contaminate food. It’s disheartening to find ants swarming food items, such as honey for coffee, particularly when uncertain how long they’ve been there unnoticed.  

Where are Ghost Ants Found?    

Indoors, ghost ants prefer secluded spots like behind wall moldings or between cabinets, particularly in pantries. Potted plants, which provide consistent moisture, also attract ghost ants. Some of the worst infestations start from nests within houseplants. These tiny pests exploit even the tiniest openings to infiltrate homes, emphasizing the need for thorough inspection and sealing of potential entry points to prevent infestations.  

How Do Ghost Ants Gain Entry?  

Ghost ant infestations often result from overgrown plants touching homes, providing a bridge for ants to bypass perimeter defenses. However, this isn’t the sole entry point. Ghost ants, with a need for water, may nest against home foundations, particularly where rainwater collects, such as beneath debris piles. Cracks in a home’s foundation can also serve as entry points, allowing ghost ants to invade indoor spaces and establish colonies.

How To Prevent Ghost Ants?  

Preventing ghost ant infestations requires a proactive approach focusing on cleanliness both inside and outside your home. Here are handy tips and tricks for how to stop ghost ants from seeing your house as theirs.  

Outside Prevention  

Water Management: pay close attention to how water interacts with your home’s exterior. Look for areas where storm water pools and ensure proper drainage to prevent moisture buildup, which ghost ants are attracted to. Be mindful of areas where sprinklers aim near the foundation, as consistent moisture can invite ghost ants to nest.  

Inspect Perimeter: regularly inspect the perimeter of your home for potential entry points and hiding spots. Check for deteriorating siding, cracks in the foundation, and overgrown plants that may provide access for ghost ants. Trim back branches from trees, shrubs, and bushes that touch the side of your home, as they can harbor aphids that produce honeydew, a food source for ghost ants.  

Inside Prevention  

Immediate Cleanup: clean up spills, crumbs, and food scraps promptly to eliminate food sources that attract ghost ants. Pay special attention to areas where children snack and ensure that cooking areas are kept clean. Ghost ants are less interested in spotless dishes and countertops, so maintaining cleanliness can deter them from invading your home.  

Dry Sink Surfaces: After using the sink, dry surfaces with a cloth or paper towel to remove residual water. Ghost ants are constantly on the lookout for moisture, and eliminating sources of standing water can discourage them from establishing colonies indoors. 

Regular Cleaning Schedule: Commit to a regular cleaning schedule to maintain cleanliness throughout your home. Consider scheduling a thorough cleaning day at least once every three months, focusing on areas where crumbs and spills may accumulate. Additionally, perform deep cleanings at least once or twice per year to boost your home’s defense against pests.  

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