The Ghost Ant
Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) are tiny ants measuring only 1.3 to 1.5 millimeters. They can be found in many tropical regions throughout the world. In the United Sates they are most commonly found in central and southern Florida, but can also be found in Hawaii and temperate parts of Iowa, Texas, and Oregon. These ants get their name from their unique appearance. They have a dark head and thorax, with a translucent colored abdomen and legs. This is most likely where their common name “ghost” ant derived from.
These ants are communal. Their colonies can have multiple queens with thousands of workers. New colonies will branch off through the process called “budding.” A queen ant will move away from the colony with multiple workers.
Ghost ants need moisture and are typically not found in colder climates. In the northern parts of the U.S. these ants have only been known to survive in heated buildings or in greenhouses. These ants will intrude into homes, usually to forage for food. They eat mainly sweets and grease, but will also feed on living or dead insects. They collect honeydew from plant-feeding insects like aphids.