Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ghost Ants Can Be More Trick Than Treat For Homeowners

Date:
October 30, 1997
Source:
Institute Of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University Of Florida
Summary:
Florida homeowners may be haunted by more than the usual ghouls and goblins this time of year as ghost ants show up in kitchens in search of a sweet treat.

GAINESVILLE--- Florida homeowners may be haunted by more thanthe usual ghouls and goblins this time of year as ghost ants show up inkitchens in search of a sweet treat.

Ghost ants are pesky little insects who got their name by looking muchlike tiny, white apparitions who suddenly appear and seem to disappearjust as quickly. They don't sting or bite, but like any good trick-or-treater, ghost ants do have a sweet tooth and prefer nibbling on goodiessuch as cakes, candy and cookies.

Phil Koehler, an entomology professor with the University of Florida'sInstitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said ghost ants are both fastand small, averaging about 1 mm in length or about the size of a pinhead.

Ghost ants are most deserving of their name, Koehler said. With a blackhead and thorax and a pale, gray body, they are almost transparent,move quickly and are hard to track.

With no effective method for eliminating the critters, a home can beoverrun with little ghost ants in no time, said David Williams, anadjunct professor of entomology at UF/IFAS.

"They are often found in plant material brought into your home. Theygenerally live in just about anything outdoors -- in plants, plantproducts, wood and soil," Williams said. "In the indoors, they can moveinto interior walls or live in book bindings. They can live just aboutanywhere."

He said the search for a way to elimate ghost ants is as elusive as thepests themselves.

Over the past few years, Williams has been trying to develop baits toattract ghost ants and kill their colonies. He said they are testing anattractant now, but there is no effective bait or insecticide at this time.

Koehler said some liquid baits containing boric acid available over thecounter can work well, but should be diluted so the ant has time to getback outside to the colony before it dies. The best thing forhomeowners to do is to track where ghost ants may be entering thehome or building and seal off the opening to keep the ants outdoors,Koehler said.

"We could turn these ghost ants into real ghosts by killing them, but thebaits need to work slowly to affect ghost ants. Because they are sosmall, a normal bait would kill the ant too fast before it could get backoutside," Koehler said. "Consequently, most baits we have now don'twork well because of their high dosages, which kills the ants beforethey can get back to the nest to the others."

Koehler said ghost ant sightings occur mostly in warm climates and canbe a big problem in tropical areas of the world. In Florida, they arefound mostly from Orlando south, although they do occur as far northas Gainesville.

A good ghost? Although they can be a pest, they can also be beneficial in certain instances. For example, Koehler said, they do prey on and control mites that attack plants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute Of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute Of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University Of Florida. "Ghost Ants Can Be More Trick Than Treat For Homeowners." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971030091912.htm>.
Institute Of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University Of Florida. (1997, October 30). Ghost Ants Can Be More Trick Than Treat For Homeowners. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971030091912.htm
Institute Of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University Of Florida. "Ghost Ants Can Be More Trick Than Treat For Homeowners." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971030091912.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins