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Thief Ants

Active Seasons

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Illustration representing the fall season

Appearance and Size Facts

  • Thief ants are yellow to light brown in color with very small eyes
  • Possess a small stinger which is visible with the naked eye
  • They get their common name from the fact they steal food from other ant species that live in close proximity
  • Size: 1/32 inch long
  • Often nest close to other ant species
  • Prefer food that is high in protein

Behavior and Habitat of Thief Ants

Thief ant colonies are relatively small and contain a few hundred to several thousand workers with many queens. They commonly nest close to other species of ants. They forage in set trails much like Pharaoh ants. Thief ants nest outdoors under stones or logs. They also often nest near larger ants, from which they steal food and young larvae. Once inside your home, they occasionally build nests in walls or in the foundation. Thief ants prefer meat, grease, seeds, or dead insects, but not sweet foods, unlike most other ants.

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Signs of Infestation of Thief Ants

Thief ants nest in rotting wood and soil. They may also nest indoors in small spaces, including wall crevices, cabinet voids, under countertops and behind baseboards, including many spaces where other ant species would not be able to reach due to their small size.

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Tips for Prevention of Thief Ants

Keep food items secured and pet food off of the floors. Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed 2 foot from the home. Caulk any visible cracks around windows and doors.

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Thief Ant Gallery

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