Ghost Ants

The dreaded Ghost Ant!  Image provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Ok, so you have ghost ants. You’re not alone! Ghost ants are the #1 complaint we receive. These tiny, tiny spider looking ants trailing around your kitchen and bathrooms. Across the countertops, around the sinks, where they go, nobody knows.  It seems like they are everywhere! So you grab the can of pest control spray and blast them in hopes of them dieing, never to return.  That works for a short while, only for them to return, seemingly healthier, and more plentiful. Those trails of ants are driving you nuts! You keep the counters clean. You take out the trash regularly. Your at your wits end! What do you do?

Ghost Ants Require Professional Knowledge

  1. Pest control pros know and understand the feeding habits and food requirements of ghost ants
  2. They know the life cycle of ghost ants
  3. They know ghost ant nesting habits and where they are typically located
  4. They understand ghost ant mating and nesting habits.
  5. They understand Pheromone trails and how ghost ants follow those trails back to a water or food source
  6. They are armed with the knowledge of how to best treat and eliminate a ghost ant infestations

Hiring a Ghost Ant Professional

Let’s face it! You have done a good job trying to get rid of the problem, however hiring someone with all this knowledge sure will save you a bunch of trial and error and many days with even more ants than what you started with. Now that your friendly pest control professional has come to the rescue, he’s going to come in and wave his magic wand and the problem will magically disappear, right? Wrong!

Most customers don’t truly understand what it takes to get rid of a ghost ant problem, they just want them gone, and we get that. We truly do! We also don’t want to preach about ants, but we do like to educate our customers, so they know what to expect. Remember, you did not acquire these ants overnight, and even though your technician is a master at getting rid of ghost ant infestations, he is not armed with that magical touch we all wish they possessed. Ghost Ants require time and patienceTypically 3 to 5 weeks. This time frame is not always the case, depending on the level of customer participation, and involvement. With customers assistant this time frame could be significantly less.

Its easy to grab a can of Raid and blast these ants into kingdom come. Please remember if you choose to do so, you may be creating your own nightmare!

Don’t Kill The Messenger!

Killing those trailing ants is only going to make the problem worse! Here’s Why!

  • Ghost ants are one of very few ants that have multiple queens
  • The Worker ants duties are to care for the queens and the nest
  • They collect food and water for the nest
  • You see the (worker) ants maybe on the counter or sink area in the bathroom. You spray and kill them with whatever means you have. (Insecticides?)
  • The queens realize their workers are not returning with the food and water expected
  • Now, under stress, the good of the colony becomes the main focus. Survival mode kicks in
  • One of the queens leaves the colony to start a new colony. A phenomenon known as “Budding” The splitting of the colony occurs
  • 1 colony splits into 2. And 2 into 4, and 4 into 8, etc. etc. And now you will see more ants than ever.
  • Ultimate result is simply put “Ants all over the place”

Ghost_BaitedThe proper way to treat these types of ants is a professional baiting program. The concept is to supply a series of baits that will attract the ants. The ants will carry the baits back to the colony and feed the queen(s) and the brood (colony) and die. Killing the entire colony is the ultimate goal and this concept brings forth a much more effective result! Yes, you can buy products from home depot that are boric acid rich. These baits (Terro) contain boric acid. The true downside to this product is, by the time the ghost ant worker consumes the liquid sugar based bait, and carries it back to the nest, the workers die from the boric acid. Creating the same dilemma. Dead workers and stress on the colony.

One more thing to consider. Ghost ants can be finicky eaters. Ghost Ants prefer sweets and is the reason they are found surrounding sugar based goodies. Cookies, candy, sugar, etc. However, they are also known to be attracted to protein based foods. Meats, carbs, grease, etc. There are many times when professional technicians will offer sugar based baits, yet the workers will pass right by this type of bait, in search of the proteins they crave. The trick is to know when to offer sugar based baits or protein based baits. Knowing which to offer greatly increases your chance of success.

Many times, this ant species lives outside and will easily sneak inside for search of water and food. In turn these ants will set up camp in a wall void, making it virtually impossible to find. Locating the nest is key indoors, but can take some time to find. Were sure you don’t want us to start ripping your walls apart in a desperate search to locate a nest of ants, so a more methodical method of baiting or dusting is usually preferred. These methods also require time to perform. Time and patience are required when dealing with Ghost Ants!

Now that were here! Here are some things that you can do to assist in the removal of ghost ants

  • Check all flowerpots for ghost ant nests. This is very common! Bringing in flower pots from outside is a main reason for ghost ant infestations. Check under flowerpots on the exterior as well.
  • Trim all trees from the structure. Any tree or shrub touching the structure, will create a bridge for them to cross over into the house. They then find small hole/crack and enter the home.
  • Be sure to remove any clutter surrounding the home. Rocks, construction material, mulch, bricks, bags of mortar, fire wood, etc. Removing these will help dramatically!
  • Inside of the home, keep all sink and countertops dry. I know that’s hard, especially with kids but is a must, especially at night during the baiting program
  • Leave all countertops and floors, free from food particles. Even the smallest morsel will provide an abundance of food for ants. Wipe counters then sweep the floors in that order on a regular basis.
  • Remove trash regularly
  • If you leave something out with sugar, they will find it. Keep all sugar based items in sealed containers and wipe the outside of container to remove any sugary residue.
  • Clean and wipe out all shelves in cabinets, or pantry with household cleaner so that they are not attracting ghost ants.
  • Clean the sides of your stove! Nobody ever thinks of this, but when in protein feeding phase, the grease accumulated on the side of the oven offers some great protein treats for these ants.
  • In the bathroom, during treatment phase, place toothpaste and toothbrushes in sealed plastic bags. Ghost ants love bathroom sinks. They get sugar from toothpaste and water from the sink.
  • Ghost ants on your tables, desks, nightstands? Clean up all water, even water rings from a glass and food morsels, and you will not attract them.
  • Remember even the smallest drop of water or food looks like a mountain to them. Imagine a steak the size of Mount Rushmore. You could feed a lot of people with that!
  • We encourage the feeding of ants with our bait products. Please do not clean them up. Wiping counters is ok. But refrain from any major cleaning of the backsplash area, window sills, under the lip of the counter. Etc., as our baits are close by. Wiping them up only ruins an opportunity for the ants to find them.
  • LASTLY! DO NOT INTERRUPT THE ANTS TRAILING ACTIVITY! THEY ARE TRAILING TO A FOOD SOURCE. WERE EXPECTING THAT IT IS THE BAIT PROVIDE

Remember, Time and Patience is key when dealing with Ghost Ants in Miami

Good Things Take Time

 

Together, we can get rid of your ghost ant issue, but please remember, this process of baiting takes more time to deliver the active ingredients to the queen and brood. Due diligence will shine through as a reward for your patience. The ultimate goal is an ant free home.

Thanks for reading this information and use it to your benefit! Have a pest free day!

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