Ghost Ant


Actual Size: 1.3 to 1.5 mm

Characteristics: Tiny; head and thorax are dark and body is light, almost translucent.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Constructs nests in moist grass and potted plants. Indoors, will nest in small spaces such as cracks, spaces between cabinetry, baseboards, books, and wall voids.


  • Their small size and pale color, make ghost ant workers hard to see.
  • Ghost ants exhibit rapid, erratic movement that resembles small spiders.
  • Similar to the odorous house ant, the ghost ant excretes a rotten coconut smell.

Ghost Ants in Knoxville TN

Ghost ants are a tropical and subtropical species and are very common household pests in the Knoxville area. Found in temperate climates, the ghost ant can invade homes and businesses from outside, but they can nest inside structures as well. Like odorous house ants, ghost ants also excrete a distinct coconut smell when crushed. They tend homopterans, a sucking insect, for honeydew and feed on both live and dead insects. When invading homes, foragers are seen in kitchens and bathroom sinks, counters, and floors.

Ghost Ant Habitat

Ghost ants can live indoors and outdoors, preferring humid habitats in soil, rotten wood, under bark, within leaf litter, and inside 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 the soil next to foundations, porches, shrubs, and trees. The hollow framing of pool enclosures is 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 does not sting and only bites when threatened. Indoors, ant activity is generally concentrated in kitchens, although any room can become infested.  These ants can be a frustrating pest when 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. Colonies of ghost ants are highly mobile and frequently move from overpopulated nests, making them difficult to eradicate. If you suspect a ghost ant infestation, it is best to consult a licensed ant exterminator.