Sugar ants treatment can be tricky. "Sugar ant" is a generic term people use to refer to tiny ants attracted to sweet foods. Often these pests are actually ghost ants. Halloween season may have you thinking about ghosts, werewolves, mummies, and other spooktacular houseguests, but we think ghost ants are among the scariest things that go bump in the night. Ghost ants can be difficult to get rid of, and the sound of them rustling around in your pantry may make you wish for a haunting instead. 

As the name implies, these common kitchen pests are attracted to sugars and sweets, as well as oils, fats, grease, and all sorts of food. You might see these insects appear after you forget to wipe up that sticky patch of fruit juice on the counter. Ghost ants are small, but they can mean big problems for your household. Removing ghost ants is critical for keeping your home pest-free.

Read on to find out how to identify and rid your home of ghost or sugar ants. We have you covered on the best ghost and sugar ants treatment.

Identifying Ghost Ants

ghost or sugar antIdentifying the insect is the first step to eliminating it from your home. People often use the name to refer to any tiny ant attracted to sugar. But in South Florida, when people describe an ant foraging around their kitchen feeding on their sweet foods, they are typically invaded by the ghost ant or white footed ant.

Read more: ghost ants vs. sugar ants

What's a ghost ant's favorite type of fruit?

Boo-berry!

How Serious Are Ghost Ants?

These tiny ants may seem harmless. You may not take them seriously because of their small size. Even small insects can pose a danger to your home.

Ghost ants do not simply stick to eating maple syrup on your counter. They feed in dog bowls as well as trash cans where they may have contact with spoiled food and other waste. When ghost or sugar ants walk across your counter, they may transfer bacteria they picked up from these other germ-filled feeding spots.

Besides the potential to spread germs, ghot ants are an enormous nuisance. No one wants to be cooking with company over, especially during the holidays, and see ants infesting the food. Groceries and food are expensive, no one wants to be throwing away any food from the cupboards or cabinetry unnecessarily because it has become infested with ants.

Signs of Ghost Ants

Look for ghost or sugar ants in any location where food is kept such as the kitchen, pantry, and food containers, and especially near pet food. These tiny ants love fruit and sweets, so check your fruit bowl or any containers with sweet treats. Food or drinks spills or food traces and food remnants attract ghost ants, too.

You will find them at dusk moving along trails marked with pheromones. These scent trails communicate to other ants how to navigate and locate food in your home. At dawn, you will find the ants returning to their nests. If the ants have built a nest in the plants, trees, or soil near your home, they will be sure to return to look for more food. This is why recurring pest control from a professional pest control company for the exterior of your home is so important. Finding these nests that act as a home base for the ant colonies is very challenging. So don't try to tackle this problem alone and consult a professional today.

spooky ants in South Florida

How Did I Get Ghost Ants?

Ghost ants can find their way to your home by smelling nectar-secreting plants or other sweet scents. If these plants are near your home, the ants locate them. Then, the ants may travel into your home in search of more food through tiny cracks and crevices. If even one ant finds a food or water supply, they will lay a scent trail that guides the other ants to the food source.

Ants can even nest inside your home, too. They like to nest in spaces where they are unlikely to be disturbed, like inside walls, gutters, and attics.

How Do I Get Rid of Ghost Ants?

Any strategy for ridding your home of ghost or sugar ants should include thorough cleaning of spaces where food is kept, prepared, and eaten. Be sure to:

  • Wipe down all surfaces where food collects (counters, fridge exterior, cabinets, pantry shelves, food containers)
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Do not leave dishes in the sink overnight
  • Limit eating to one location to minimize crumbs

Simply following these methods alone, however, will not eliminate ghost ants from your home. You need to take additional steps to remove these insects. A professional pest control company will complete a thorough inspection of your property to find the various nests, find the entry points into your home, and inform you about helpful tips and tricks that homeowners can do to help lessen their ant activity.

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Ghost Ants?

Ghost ant exterminators are the quickest and most effective way for homeowners to get rid of these unsanitary pests. Experienced exterminators have the skills and knowledge to correctly identify an insect and come up with a unique strategy that is custom and tailored to the ant species and your home. A specialized program will be discussed with you and your family. Ghost ants require specialized control methods because of their nesting behavior and resistance to standard treatments, which is why a knowledgeable professional is your best option for removing these ants.

Why Is DIY Pest Control Ineffective at Ghost Ants Removal?

DIY efforts commonly go wrong due to incorrectly identifying the invading insects. Even with all the information on the internet about how to correctly identify ghost ants, homeowners commonly misidentify the pest. The homeowner may choose an ineffective strategy for elimination due to the misidentification. Tiny ants or different kinds of “sugar ants” each require specific management strategies. If you are not using the correct strategy or products, the infestation may persist or even get worse. For this reason, identification is best left to the professionals.

The do-it-yourself methods on the internet are not customized to the features of your home, hindering your efforts to control the pests, and the chances of these methods eliminating moderate to large infestations are minimal. And if an infestation is controlled momentarily, it is more likely to return.

Failing to fully eliminate the ghost ant populations can make the problem worse. If a colony is not controlled, it has the potential to grow by "Budding". “Budding” occurs when a queen in the nest splits from the colony to start a new colony and their own separate nest. If this occurs on your property, the infestation may get worse.

Professional pest control is required to rid your home of these pests.

What to Look for from a Pest Control Company

When ghost or sugar ants invade your home, it is urgent that you find a qualified pest control company with experienced and informed technicians. There are likely several options for pest control companies in your area. We have compiled a list of questions to guide your research for finding the best ghost ants exterminators.

Use these questions as a guide as you narrow down your list of companies to address your ghost ant problem:

  • Do your technicians have current licenses? Are the licenses the correct classification for ghost ants removal?
  • Do you use integrated pest management techniques?
  • Do you have a certified entomologist on staff?
  • How do you educate staff on changes in regulations, products, techniques, and safety?
  • How many years have you been in business?
  • How much experience do you have with ghost ants treatment?
  • Can you provide me with a free inspection and written estimate?
  • Do I have to sign up for a long-term contract? What costs can I expect?

When a pest control technician arrives at your home, you should expect them to provide excellent customer service by listening carefully to any questions or concerns you have and providing thorough answers. The following questions may be useful as you speak with the technician:

  • Can you identify the pest?
  • What is the extent of the infestation?
  • What information can you provide about the pest and its behavior?
  • Do you have product options that are environmentally friendly?

Some people like to use online customer reviews in their decision-making process as well.

At Hulett, we are ghost ant experts with the experience and knowledge necessary to eliminate these pests from your home. We are happy to address your questions and concerns about how to control these troublesome insects. We are proud to offer:

  • Free inspections
  • State-certified technicians
  • Knowledgeable employees educated on latest products, proper usage and handling, and best pest control solutions customized for South Florida
  • Certified entomologist on staff
  • Environmentally friendly pest control solutions

As a family-owned business, we want to keep you and your family free from sugar and ghost ant infestations. Schedule your free inspection today to learn how we can help you get rid of ghost and sugar ants.