Ants in the Home

In this blog we will be talking about three different types of ants that can get into your home. Two of the three which do not bite you, but are just a nuisance for sure!

The three types are:

  • Pharaoh Ant
  • Crazy Ant
  • Ghost Ant

 

 

Pharaoh Ant

These ants are light yellow to red brown in color, with workers that measure about 1 / 15 to 1 / 12 inches long. They also have three segments in the antennal club. They are found in most localized regions of the United States as well as parts of Southern Canada. They are transported in commerce and as people move. These ants are in homes, apartments, hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and other places that may be similar. Their small size lets them get into anything as well as their very wide food preference to make them difficult to eliminate from structures in some cases.

Their nests can be found (but rarely) under floors, between walls, above ceilings, behind baseboards and switch plates, in old trash, folded bathroom linens as well as outside in gardens. They are also along walkways. Pharaoh ants are more drawn to warmer places so you may see them around fireplaces, heat ducts as well as hot water pipes. The worker ants are usually traveling along, baseboards, countertops or windowsills. In the warmer parts of the southern United States, you may see them nesting outside on buildings or in landscape areas. Especially in humid areas or where a lot of moisture is present, like sprinkler systems or cooling units. These ants will feed on syrups, fruit juice, honey, jelly, cakes, pies, but also greases, dead insects, meats and blood.

Pharaoh ants can be more difficult to control than others. They can appear suddenly in various places within a structure. Trying to control this species with spray or dust applications indoors will cause the colonies to split into sub colonies that will scatter to other locations within the structure. This is called budding, and contributes to the difficulty of their control.

Their colonies can be very large, with tens or hundreds of thousands of workers as well as many queens. When these colonies split into subs, the workers and queens may move back and forth between colonies, keeping it from becoming a distinct unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy Ant

These guys are more prominent here in Florida. They can be found scattered around the United States, but are more common here in our home state. Especially along the Gulf Coast. These workers are about 1 / 10 in. long and dark brown in color. Their legs and antenna are much longer in proportion to the other parts of their body compared to what is normal for other house-infesting ants. Crazy ants are usually slim and fast moving. They exhibit erratic, jerky or “crazy” motions, especially when disturbed or threatened.

They eat the sugar of honeydew from aphids, scales and mealy bugs. Also on dead and live insects and other protein sources. They wonder throughout structures in search for food. These guys will nest either in dry or moist areas, indoors as well as out. They are more common indoors because they cannot survive outside during the cold winter.

Crazy ants can bite, but do not sting. Their bite is ineffective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Ant

This is a small ant. It has a very distinct pale, whitish stomach, legs and antenna, but it has a very dark colored head and thorax. This ant came over from Africa or Asia and has become a common household ant in areas of high humidity.

They develop very large colonies, with a lot of queens. These ants can also go through the budding process and divide or split off much like Pharaoh ants. They also can be found nesting outside under mulch, rocks, boards or other items.

Ghost ants feed on honeydew and look for proteins outdoors, but can get indoors through exterior openings for utility lines or around door and window casings. These guys are more easily controlled through insecticide spray or direct soil drench. They can also respond to baits. These methods work well for these ants unlike the Pharaoh ants as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations (seventh edition)

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