Ghost Ants

Ghost Ants in Seattle, WA

The Ghost Ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum) is thought to be native to Africa or Asia, though it is now found worldwide. In the United States they are most reported in Florida, though they have also been seen across southern and eastern states and even in the Pacific Northwest. Ghost Ants are between 1 and 2 mm long and are easily recognizable by their dark brown to black bodies and translucent abdomens.

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Ghost Ant Habits

Ghost Ant nests are large, with multiple queens and often spreading to mega colonies, or multiple nests forming a network. The diet of the Ghost Ant consists of both sugary substances and protein, namely dead insects, or live insects that can be overwhelmed. Ghost Ants have been observed tending aphids for honeydew. Ghost Ants are capable of nesting in a variety of locations due to the ants’ small size. Most often they are found in warm, moist locations such as loose soil or rotting wood, or even cracks in foundation.

Threats Posed by Ghost Ants

The chief threat posed by Ghost Ants is their tendency to forage in human habitations. They are also a threat to native species. Additionally, they have become a problem in quarantined greenhouses.

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Ghost Ant Control, Removal, & Prevention

In order to prevent Ghost Ants from entering human habitations, every effort should be made to remove food sources, including plants that may attract aphids. Dead wood should also be removed in order to prevent nesting environments. Cracks that ants may enter through should be sealed or sprayed.


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