Introduction: Ghost ants are tropical ants which are generally found throughout the world in warm tropical climates and greenhouses. In the United States of America, these ants are common in the states of Hawaii and Florida, as well as on occasion in greenhouses in other states.
Biology & Distribution: This tiny ant derives its name from the difficulty in seeing it, due to its small size and the color of its head, thorax and body, which are a deep dark brown with gaster and legs opaque or milky white. The thorax is spineless. Ghost ant cannot adapt to colder climates and are only confined to greenhouses and buildings that provide considerable conditions that allows the species to thrive, this is the reason why these ants are generally found in a warm, humid habitat, and its presence outside of Florida or Hawaii is likely due to infested soils in plants that are shipped. It is primarily an outdoor species, and is highly adaptable in its nesting habits. It builds colonies that may be moderate to large in size. Generally, the colonies occupy local sites that are too small or unstable to support entire large colonies, nesting in virtually any crack or small void it can find, including under bark or in hollow trees, under logs and other debris on the soil. Indoors, the ant colonizes wall void or spaces between cabinets and baseboards. It will also nest in potted plants. Thus, the colonies are broken into subunits that occupy different nest sites.
Identification: Workers are very small, only about 1/16th of an inch long and have the habit of running rapidly and erratically when disturbed. This species is closely related to the odorous house ant, and gives off a similar unpleasant odor of rotten coconuts when crushed.
Control and Management: The best approach to ghost ant control in the home is cleanliness. Any type of food or food particles can attract and provide food for ants. Store food in tight containers. Elimination of insects that provide protein or honeydew sources reduces ant foraging in an area, and cleanup of unnecessary debris or objects on the soil that provide harborage eliminates nesting. Ant bait products in granular, liquid, or gel formulations can be effective, and protein baits may be preferred. If possible, following the trails of this species back to the nest and treating the nest using a residual dust insecticide, is effective.
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