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How to get rid of Ghost Ants

Updated on July 7, 2017

Those Pesky Ants!

Ghost ants, sometimes referred to as Sugar ants, are minuscule insects that can take over your home in a matter of days. There's nothing worse than walking into your kitchen and being bombarded with hundreds of ants covering every surface. I myself have had visits from these invasive little insects and it was not fun! Think: Homemade, with hours of labor, birthday cake. That was NOT a fun day to say the least. But, it is possible to get rid of them!

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A little background on the Ghost Ant

The Ghost Ant gets it's name from the fact that they seem almost invisible due to their color and size. They are known for their dark head and translucent bodies which make them seem even smaller than they already are. They are very adaptable to nesting locations successfully surviving outside typically near high moisture areas, as well as inside where they are most likely to be found in kitchen and bathroom areas. It is very common for there to be many additional sub colonies attached to the main colony complete with their own queens. They are attracted to both sweets and protein sources for food, but prefer sweet. Lastly, Ghost Ants have a high need for a moisture source.

So how do we get rid of these invasive ants? The one thing that you should not do is spray the worker ants with any type of on-contact killer or household spray. Ghost Ant colonies have very involved queens. These queens know exactly how many workers they send out. If her workers don't come back she will elect several new queens. Those queens will branch off and start new colonies throughout the area. So instead of having one ant colony in your kitchen, you now have 5 ant colonies spread throughout your home!

So What do we do?

  • Good Housekeeping. Specifically, keeping all areas dry and free of food debris. Ghost ants need a water source to survive, and the smallest amount of water left on a counter top is perfect for them. Keeping these areas dry will make your home seem less appealing to them. Any foods that you would typically leave out (i.e. Fruits, cookies, candies, etc.) need to be sealed and put away.
  • Sweet Baits. Use baits such as Advion Ant Bait Gel, Optigard Ant Bait Gel, or Make your own using a combination of water, borax, and sugar. The trick to making your own is to not over do it on the borax. You want the ant to be able to make it back to the colony and pass it along to the rest of the colony.
  • Protein Baits. If you're unsure about whether the sweet baits will work for you, you can use protein baits as well. Use baits such as Advance375 or Advion Ant Bait traps.
  • On-Contact spray. These sprays should only be used if you manage to find the location of the nest and queen. You can spray the nest and your problem is solved. Don't rely on this method only because Ghost Ants have very random trailing patterns to it is rare that someone is able to follow them and find the main nest.
  • Professional help. I list this option last because it really should be a last resort option. As maddening as it is to have Ghost Ants popping up in your home, the eradication of them isn't typically beyond what any regular person can do. If the situation does get out of hand, sometimes professional help is the best choice. If hiring a pest control company is what you decide to do, price shop and make sure that you're asking them exactly what they plan to do and why it will be effective.
  • Additional tip about baiting. If you choose to bait for the ants, it is very important that you place the bait somewhere along the ant trail that is far away from areas that you frequent. The best case scenario would be to follow the trail to where they enter the home and place the bait there. Once you place the bait, there will be a sudden surge in activity. All of the activity will be centered around the bait. In an effort to keep the surge of activity from being right next to your kitchen sink, it is best to follow them as far away as possible and place the bait there.

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