( Tapinoma melanocephalum )
SIZE: Tiny, usually less than one-sixteenth of an inch in length.
COLOR:Pale, with a dark head and abdomen.
BEHAVIOR:Ghost ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on ant baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move from neighboring properties. The services of a professional, such as Terminix
®, are very helpful when encountering these ants.
This ant is now a major pest throughout most of Florida and several of the Hawaiian Islands. It occasionally is found in apartments and greenhouses in northern states. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants and within piles of items such as lumber, firewood or bricks. Nests may be readily established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting and in other suitable voids or spaces.
Tips for Control
This species may be difficult to control, and ant baits may not be effective against it. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Where the colonies cannot be found, baits may be attempted; however, several baits may be required before positive results are seen. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from neighboring properties. The services of a professional, such as Terminix, are very helpful when encountering these ants. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:
Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
Keep landscape mulch less than two inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
Ensure the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
Seal as many cracks in the home's exterior as possible.
Keep tree and shrub branches from touching the house.