Ghost Ants


Actual Size: 1.3 to 1.5 mm

Characteristics: Head and thorax are dark and body is light, almost translucent


  • Also known as the black-headed ant
  • Ghost ants exhibit rapid, erratic movement that resembles small spiders.
  • Like odorous house ants, the ghost ant excretes a rotten coconut smell.


Ghost ants are a tropical and subtropical species, being common household pests in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, California, and the Pacific Northwest. They can be found in temperate climates and generally inside buildings and structures. Colonies of ghost ants may be moderate to large in size, (100 to 1000 individuals) with numerous queens. Ghost ants also excrete a distinct coconut smell when crushed. The ant is easy to recognize due to its peculiar color markings and small size. Foragers are seen in kitchens and bathroom sinks, counters, and floors.

Ghost Ant Habitat

Ghost ants live in humid habitats and nests are found in soil, rotten wood, under bark, within leaf litter, and in plant cavities. Inside homes, they nest in potted plants, bread boxes, shower curtain rods, behind baseboards and between cabinets. Ghost ants enter through cracks around windows, doors, and soffits. Outside, their nests are located in soil next to foundations, porches, shrubs, and trees. The hollow framing of pool enclosures ia also a favorite nesting site. These pests will also gain entry into structures from surrounding vegetation.

Ghost Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

The ghost ant is a household pest. Indoors, ghost ant activity is typically concentrated in the kitchen, although any room can be infested. These ants can be found by homeowners trailing from room to room under the edge of carpeting. In kitchens, they prefer to forage on sweets, but will also feed on grease. They tend homopterans, (a sucking insect)  for honeydew and feed on both live and dead insects. Since ghost ants need moisture, they often trail to shower stalls, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets.

Ghost Ant Prevention

To prevent ghost ants, cleanliness is imperative. Any type of food or food particles will attract and provide food for ants. Keep your kitchen clean and store food items in sealed plastic containers. Wipe up any spilled sugary, greasy or oily substances.  Outdoors, eliminate standing water and keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed back from the foundation of your home. Locate and seal all cracks and crevices in bathrooms and kitchen, especially near plumbing fixtures.