The ghost ant has had a reputation as a nuisance and a house pest to Florida since 1988. The name ghost ant comes from the pale color if its legs and abdomen, which make it difficult to see. They are also extremely small; they are approximately 1.3 to 1.5 mm long. Ghost ants are related to odorous house ants. Similarly to them, they give off their own coconut like odor when they are crushed. They do not typically bite unless their nest is threatened. Bites result in little discomfort and little or no evidence of a reaction.
Ghost ants feast on sweets, greasy foods, and insects. Since this ant is usually found in a homeowner’s kitchen or bathroom, it is still likely to transfer disease organisms.
When these ants enter a home they are in search of food, water, or a good nesting site.
The ant is categorized within a complex of ant species known as “tramp ants” that are found throughout tropical and subtropical latitudes. In the United States, the ghost ant is predominant in Florida and Hawaii while it’s range is still expanding. In Florida, this ant is mostly found from Sarasota to Orlando and south.
This ant is highly adaptable in its nesting behavior meaning it can find a place in your home inside or out. Colonies will also form multiple nest sites in one home. When they nest indoors, they are found in flowerpots, baseboards, and inside wall voids. Outdoors, they like to nest beside stones, logs and firewood piles.
Because ghost ants have multiple nesting sites, time and patients is required when controlling an infestation; cases like these are better left to professionals. Basic home maintenance and upkeep is integral to keeping these or any pest out.