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Ghost Ants Are The Ghosts With The Most

It’s ghost season. Ghost ant season, that is. You’ve may have seen them and can identify them because of their unusual coloring and long trails to their nests. Ghost ants are opaque or transparent which makes them, just like a ghost, very difficult to see. They are extremely small and love to live in the tiny cracks and crevices of your home. 

Ghost ants are extremely cooperative.

These ants are interesting to learn about because they’ve figured out how to do something humans have not – they get along with each other. Even if they are in a different colony. Ghost ants have multiple queens and are known to create sub-colonies where some reproductive females and broods (larvae, eggs) can relocate to another colony with no infighting for power. It seems that they figured out that working together makes them stronger. Hmm. 

Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) feeding on an apple
Ghost ants feeding on an apple.

They are annoying but not dangerous.

They feast on sweet things, so the best defense is a clean house. Keep sugar, syrup, cakes and all those goodies locked up in airtight containers and wipe down surfaces to remove crumbs. If that doesn’t work, our technicians love to follow ant trails to find the nest and treat at the source.  If it’s not possible to do that, we’ll use baiting techniques. These ants can be a bit picky sometimes though and not take the bait, so we may have to try a few different options. Inside, you’ll find ghost ants most commonly in kitchens and bathrooms, on sinks, countertops, and floors. Fun fact – if you crush them, they smell kind of like rotten coconuts. 

Worker of the ghost ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius), dorsal view. Photograph by J.L. Castner, University of Florida.
A worker ghost ant. Image from the University of Florida.

Don’t let ghost ants scare you.

If they haunt you, call us. We may or may not hum the Ghost Busters theme while we treat these annoying pests. 

Michael Ryan

President Michael Ryan is the founder and co-owner of Tempco Pest Control, Inc. His primary responsibilities include financial oversight, strategic planning and operations. Michael earned a B.S. in marketing with a minor in political science from Florida Southern College in 1990. He has a banking and entrepreneurial background as well as over 20 years of pest control experience. Michael holds Florida Certified Operators Licenses in Pest Control, Rodent Control, Lawn Care and Termite Control and earned the designation of Associate Certified Entomologist. He is also a member of the Entomological Society of America as well as the Certified Pest Control Operators Association. A Florida resident since 1990, Michael’s interests include fishing, boating, ornamental horticulture and his 225-gallon salt water aquarium.