Ghost Ants or Black Headed Ants
Ghost Ants look like tiny, white apparitions who suddenly appear and seem to disappear just as quickly.
Workers are 1/16 inch/1.5 mm in length. The legs, pedicel, gaster, and antennae are pale, almost translucent, in color and the head and thorax are darker. For this reason, the Ghost Ant is also known in some areas as the Black-Headed Ant.
Ghost Ant colonies tend to be moderate-to-large in size with multiple queens. New colonies are started by budding, where one or more reproductive females, several workers, and possibly some brood (larvae and pupae) migrate to a new nesting site. Their biology in similar to the Pharaoh Ant.
An excellent article by the University of Florida Extension Service can be found at Ant Trails:Baiting. It gives an overview of management with baits.
How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants
Unless you use a non-repellent spray, baiting is the preferred treatment over typical residual spraying. Baiting is the most reliable way to eliminate the entire colony. When choosing Ant baits, it is best to choose from both the sugar-based baits and protein/grease-based baits. If using a spray, choose a non-repellent type unless you are treating the nest itself.
Why Ant Bait?
The use of residual sprays or dusts stress Ant colonies, causing them to split into sub-colonies and scatter. This scattering, also called budding, multiplies the number of Ant colonies, and thereby multiplies your Ant problem.
When you bait, use a slow-acting bait. Quick-kill insecticides and baits will only kill the foraging Ants, not allowing those worker Ants to take the bait back home to feed the queen, nest workers, and brood.
If the Ant bait that you are currently using is not effective (if the Ants are not visiting the bait) you will need to change the baits. Slow-acting baits provide a variety of the foods the Ants find in nature. Examples are: other insects (proteins/grease-based baits), nectar, aphid honeydew, and plant products (sugar and carbohydrates found in sweet-based baits).
Choosing a bait requires an understanding of the nutritional needs of the colony. To be sure that you have all the baiting needs met, you may want to be ready with a sugar/carbohydrate-based bait, a grease/fat-based bait, and a protein-based bait.
Ghost Ants tend to forage in a random pattern, so that feeding trails may be more difficult to recognize. These Ants have a high need for water and may be commonly found in or around kitchens, baths, or other moisture sources.
IMPORTANT NOTE: REMOVE ALL OTHER FOOD COMPETITION WHEN BAITING AND LEAVE THE BAIT ALONE ONCE THE ANTS START FEEDING ON IT.
Recommended Ant Baits
Sweet Feeding Cycles:
The powerful, slow-acting non-repellent active ingredient, thiamethoxam in Optigard Ant Gel knocks out workers, brood, and queens.
Baits that feed both Protein /Grease and Sweet cycles:
InVict AB Insect Paste is an all around insect bait containing 0.05% Abamectin (botanical insecticide)