Ghost Ants vs Sugar Ants: What’s The Difference?

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Finding ants in your home can be stressful and upsetting. Even the cleanest kitchens can occasionally attract these persistent intruders. Because these little insects are so tenacious, keeping the house ant-free may be a challenging chore. A little ant colony may not seem like a big concern, but if left untreated, the problem may quickly turn into a major infestation.

So what are the differences between ghost ants and sugar ants? Sugar ants are known by a variety of names, including sugar, sweet, and odorous. They’re drawn to sweet foods, but moisture is their primary interest. When you crush them, they release a foul odor. They also reproduce rapidly and are challenging to exterminate. In many cases, these pests are actually ghost ants.

Ghost Ants vs Sugar Ants: Which Pest Is In Your Home?

Ants can be found nearly anywhere. It’s not surprising to encounter a few of these pests grabbing food and crumbs from the kitchen. They’re also adaptable and resilient, which is why most pest management experts think that eradicating them from a property is becoming more difficult each year.

The first step in eradicating ants is determining which species you’re dealing with. Among the species of ants that infest houses and other man-made structures, ghost ants and sugar ants are the most common. The type of pest control you choose will be determined by the ant species that have infested your home, so it’s crucial to distinguish one from the other.

What Are Sugar Ants?

In Australia, the sugar ant is known as Camponotus consobrinus, the common name for an ant species found only there. Alternatively, Americans refer to sugar ants as the wide range of ant species that have a common trait: a fondness for sugar. These ants sneak inside your home in search of sweet food. Raw sugar, confections, fruit, and honeydew secreted by other insects such as aphids are also favorites.

Sugar ants come in a variety of sizes and colors because there are so many types. The bodies of these ants vary in size from 1 to 13 mm and can be reddish-brown, brown, black, or white. The sugar ant category includes little black ants, carpenter ants, pavement ants, ghost ants, and odorous house ants. Kitchens, cabinets, and sinks are all common places to find them.

Humans aren’t usually at risk from common species of ants that are categorized as sugar ants. There is no history of these ants biting or being aggressive. If they do bite, it isn’t considered harmful. They aren’t dangerous, but they can create other complications. Sugar ants will contaminate your food if they have access to it. Given the large number of ants invading your home, their presence might be overwhelming.

One species of sugar ants, ghost ants, are not entirely harmful. However, they can be a huge nuisance. They eat from dog bowls and trash cans, which exposes them to rotting food and other waste. When ghost ants travel across your counter, bacteria from other germ-infested feeding areas may be spread to your food.

Identifying Ghost Ants

Even though any ant invasion can be a nuisance, an invasion of ghost ants is particularly startling. The name “ghost ant” comes from their small size and pale legs and bodies, which make them difficult to spot, comparable to ghosts. Homeowners may not notice ghost ants disappearing and reappearing, making them appear even more ghostly.

You must first confirm that you’re struggling with ghost ant infestation and not another insect species before beginning a treatment program. Misidentification can result in the use of ineffective treatment solutions, which will waste your time and money. Fortunately, ghost ants are easily recognizable. The characteristics that distinguish ghost ants from other sugar ants are mentioned below.


Ghost ants get their name from their distinctive color, which helps them hide from predators. The abdomen and legs of ghost ants are pale yellowish, while the head and thorax are dark brown. The ghost ant workers are monomorphic and measure between 1.3 to 1.5 mm in length.


Because ghost ants enjoy sweet foods as well as greasy foods. This species of ants will be increasingly drawn to the different scents of food, luring them to live in and around domestic kitchens and pantries.

These arthropods are collaborative species that are usually active during the day. They have numerous queen ants and a large number of male worker ants in their colonies. Each nest house may accommodate between 100 to 1000 inhabitants. Honey-eating insects are collected by the workers to feed their colonies. The ghost ant colonies are frequently seen splitting up into several nests, and it’s common for them to move between them.

Habitat and Nesting

Ghost ants prefer to reside outside, but they will enter our houses or businesses in search of food, moisture, or a warm place to live. Ghost ants will likely stay and build several satellite nests to extend their colony if your home gives them convenient access to a food source.

Outside, they build their nest in the dirt beneath:

  • Tree stumps and fallen trees
  • Rock piles or woodpiles
  • Inside logs
  • Under bush or leaf piles
  • Greenhouses

They take up residence inside or behind:

  • Floors or wall voids
  • Cabinets
  • Potted plants
  • Shower stalls, sinks, or tubs


Ghost ants are omnivores, but they prefer honeydew, which they acquire from plant-feeding insects. As a result, these ants would frequently prey on aphids or small plant-sucking insects to gather honey droplets. They also consume other insects, both alive and dead. They also have been seen transporting blood droplets. When they establish their nests indoors, they eat sweets in tiny groups.

Threats Posed by Infestation

Ghost ants can bite for resistance or as a defense, delivering a mildly painful, non-poisonous bite. Unless provoked or their nests are threatened, these species rarely bite or sting. Their bites may cause some discomfort or itching, but there have been no reports of severe skin reactions.

Unlike carpenter ants, they don’t cause damage to furniture or present a risk to family pets. Their most serious consequence could be the spread of disease-causing germs. As a result, many individuals utilize baits and various pest control treatments, including boric acid, to keep ghost ants under control or prevent infestation.

Signs of a Ghost Ant Infestation

Look for ghost ants in areas where food is stored, such as the kitchen, pantry, and food containers, as well as around pet food. Fruit and sweets are favorites of these tiny ants, so keep an eye out for them in your fruit bowl or other sweet treat containers. Food spillage, food residues, and food scraps can attract ghost ants.

Tips for Managing An Ant Infestation

The most common cause for contacting a professional pest control company is ant infestations. Ants are difficult to eradicate in your home. No matter how many you kill, a new army of ants appears to take their place. The first step in eliminating ants is to inspect your home and yard thoroughly. If the colony you found in your home consists of ghost ants or any other type of sugar ant, you may use the following recommendations to eliminate them.

Ant Bait

Ant baits are devices that combine an insecticide with a mixture of food that ants find appealing, such as proteins, carbs, and fats. Workers bring little amounts of the bait back to the nest, where it’s passed from worker to worker, larvae, and queens to eliminate the entire colony. Bait products should be slow-acting so that foraging ants have enough time to return to their nest and feed other colony members before being killed.


The most effective way to rid your home of ants is to use sprays on the exterior of the house. Sprays for killing ants will continue to work for some time, but they must still be reapplied periodically. Typically, the product label specifies how frequently the spray needs to be applied.

The spray should be administered to the ground in a one-foot strip around the home’s whole perimeter. Spray any additional entry points into the house, such as air conditioner or heat pump ducts. To prevent the insecticide from being drawn into your home’s air, avoid spraying the air intakes of these equipment.

Every area where ants could enter must be treated with an ant spray. The spraying effort will most likely fail if gaps are left or certain openings are missed.

Home Remedies

There are numerous methods for eliminating ants and their nests from your property. While experienced exterminators may be required in some circumstances, there are several natural alternatives that can eliminate the problem without introducing chemicals or toxins into your home.

Here are some of the most effective natural methods of killing and repelling ants with ingredients that can be found in your household or at a local store:

  • Essential oils: Pour one part of water into a spray bottle along with a few drops of lavender or peppermint essential oils. To prevent ants from appearing in those areas, spray the solution on your kitchen island and pantry shelves.
  • Vinegar solution: Fill a spray bottle halfway with vinegar and the other half with water. Vinegar has acetic acid, which masks an ant trail’s scent and functions as a deterrent to these pests. Spray around baseboards and all potential entrance pathways and trails after locating the ants’ entry point to deter ants from pursuing these paths.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic form of silica created from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are aquatic organisms. Through the process of absorbing oils from their skeletons and drying them out, it kills ants and other insects. However, because diatomaceous earth is an irritant, avoid inhaling it or putting it on your skin.

Professional Pest Control Company

If a few ants evolve into an army, but you’ve done everything to get rid of them; you might be dealing with an infestation. Identification of common ant species and locating the nest are essential for performing successful pest control strategies But both of these can be difficult to accomplish without the assistance of a pest control professional.

If you’re still seeing ants after attempting the previous methods, it’s time to hire an exterminator to determine the species of ants and help you get rid of them for good. Look for exterminators who practice integrated pest management, a type of pest treatment that reduces the risk of harm to people, pets, and the environment.

Keep Your Home Ant-Free with Midway Pest Management

You’re one step closer to addressing your ant problem now that you know the difference between a sugar ant and a ghost ant. Pests, particularly ants, can be difficult to deal with since they require a proactive approach and a variety of methods. If you want better outcomes when it comes to pest control, you should hire professionals.

Midway Pest Management provides high-quality pest control services by customizing pest management programs for your home or business and offering exceptional customer service. With our fumigation, nest, and colony removal, as well as other guaranteed successful pest control techniques, you can finally say goodbye to pests in your home. Contact us today.

Learn More: Home Remedies to Kill Ghost Ants With Cinnamon