Living and non-living organisms have a role to play in the eco-system. Ants are living beings and contribute a lot of positive benefits to this system. They provide food to other species as well as helping in the decomposition of dead plants and animals. Notably, they are described as very social creatures and a single ant has the ability to attract an entire colony.
Despite these positive attributes, ants bring their own host of issues when they infiltrate residential homes. These issues are magnified by the fact that ants, due to their social nature, can invade in the thousands, if not in the millions. Unfortunately, once they invade your house they never leave willingly and the process of evicting them can be quite difficult. Additionally, there are different species of ants that require protocols unique to their nature. Having guided tips on how to identify the species of ant creating issues for your home and how best to get rid of them is quite helpful as a homeowner, especially if you are a DYI kind of person.
Gregory’s Pest Control is a small, family owned pest control company, that is committed to working with homeowners in helping to educate and guide the community on the type of pests they are combating and how they can rid themselves of the issues, whether it be through self-help or by calling in professional pest control services. As part of that commitment they have written a number of articles to assist in this process. While there are various species of ants that could be discussed, this article will focus on the ghost ant and share ways you can identify and eradicate their infestation in your home.
What does a ghost ant look like?
The ghost ant derives its name from their nearly translucent colored legs, abdomen and antennae. However, their thoraxes and heads are black and they tend to feed on sugary products.
Why the invasion to my house?
The ghost ant’s invasion can be influenced by several factors including but not limited to: the presence of sugary products or particles; the need for water, their social nature, and the location of the queen ant and her “palace”. These three factors have the highest influence in how severe your ant problem will be. Unfortunately, if the queen has her palace close to your house then you are at a higher risk of heavier infestation.
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How did ghost ants get inside my home?
Ghost ants will make nests inside the soil outside your home or inside of logs or trees. They are extremely small and gain access into your home by fitting through cracks found around windows, doors or your house foundation. They can even be in the dirt of a potted plant you have purchased so be sure to inspect any plants before bringing them into your home. Once inside they can establish multiple colony sites inside the walls of your home, between cracks in shelves or inside the walls of your cabinets.
Where inside my home are they found?
All living things eat and drink to live. This is the sole reason they invade your house. The bathroom and kitchen in your house provide an ample environment full of sugary food and water. These areas are where you should start looking when trying to trace an ant. The actual colony of ants will often establish itself inside the walls of your home making it a more complicated matter to resolve.
Are ghost ant colonies dangerous to my family?
Ghost ants cannot sting you as they do not have a stinger and they rarely bite. And they do not pose a danger in the form of spreading diseases in the same fashion as many other pests. But ants in general, including ghost ants, can cause cross-contamination of dangerous bacteria as a result of crawling through areas of your home such as trash, spilled food and toilets. In addition to contaminating food by traveling through it they are simply annoying and quite difficult to eliminate once they have established a full invasion.
Do you need to know the type of ant you are dealing with?
Understanding the type of enemy who has invaded your home is vital in the defense mechanism used against their attack. A blind retaliation may leave you in a worse situation and possibly result in the unnecessary use of poisons that are toxic to the environment.
Different species of ants have unique behaviors and pose their own distinct set of problems for a homeowner. For example, a black ant will set up its camp outside. It will come inside a residential area in its mission to find food but there is little concern that it will remain inside and establish a colony. Black ants do, however, pose a threat for biting. If you spot a black ant inside your home you can trace it back to its location outside and destroy the colony.
Another type of ant that is similar to the ghost ant is the pharaoh. Both ants emit a particular odor when squashed and are very small in size. There is a different protocol followed to address the pharaoh ant than the one used in dealing with the ghost ant.
What are some preventative measures I could use?
Gregory’s Pest Control recommends the following in order to help you greatly reduce the possibility of a ghost ant colony establishing itself inside your home:
- Ensure that the kitchen and dining area are cleaned properly and all sugar spills removed.
- Frequently empty your trash cans which may contain sources of sugary foods.
- If you own a pet, have their bowls washed and dried and keep their area free of spills.
- Store ripe foods in the refrigerator or in a sealed container.
- Regularly inspect your flower garden and yard to trace any ant or pest activity. You may trace the queen ant setting up her colony which should be destroyed immediately.
- Prevent access inside your home by filling any window, door and building cracks and holes completely. This may be their mysterious entry routes.
While the above steps address inside your home Gregory’s Pest Control recommends the following steps for keeping ghost ant colonies from establishing outside your home:
- Have all water pipes checked and fixed for water leaks as this can be a source of water.
- Inspect and seal all cracks and holes on your house with silicone (on the door and window holes) while filling the cracks on the house structure with cement.
- Ensure proper water draining within your home or garden; from the gutters all the way to the garden drainage.
- Trim shrubs and plants around your garden while keeping them away from your house structure. These are common places the queen ant enjoys setting up her colony.
- All firewood should be stacked several meters away from your house. Firewood is an attractive site for ant colonies and other pests.
How do you eliminate the ghost ant invasion from your house?
There are several ways Gregory’s Pest Control recommends exterminating ghost ants from your home. Use of over the counter sprays may be applied but you need to be aware of their dangers, especially if you have children in your house. Sprays also may be washed away by water or rain posing environmental risks to nearby water species.
Natural ways recommended by Gregory’s Pest Control to eradicate a ghost ant intrusion include the following:
- Application of home-made spray. Mix vinegar and water with a two to one ratio.
- Use of natural repellent or deterrent by grinding dry mint leaves and slowly placing the powder on the traceable route.
- Place cucumber cut slices on their path or identified entry points. They dislike it and will keep off.
- Mix water and soap in equal quantity to eradicate the species by killing them altogether.
- Pour turmeric powder into their identified colony.
While you have self-help options available to you in the identification and treatment of ghost ants it may be safer and more cost effective in the long run to use a professional pest control company like Gregory’s Pest control. The benefits of calling a professional company include the peace of mind knowing that your pest problems will be accurately identified and the pest solution will be effective while using the most appropriate techniques that guarantee the safety of your family, pets and environment.
Owner/President of Gregory’s Pest Control
I’m a 2nd generation pest control owner who started working for my father in 1999. I was raised in South Florida and feel blessed to call it home for my entire adult life. As a long-term Florida resident, I recognize the challenges of controlling the many different pests that thrive in our subtropical climate. In particular, I understand how difficult it can be to prevent pests from invading our homes and businesses. By helping families solve their pest problems so they can live safer, more comfortable lives, I feel I am also meeting my family’s commitment to help our community. When I’m not out fighting pests, you can find me on the golf course or out on a soccer field where I have been fortunate enough to coach soccer to kids of all ages for the past 20 years.