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Tapinoma melanocephalum


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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 In Puerto Rico

Ghost ants are a tropical and subtropical species and are very common household pests in the San Juan 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 are found both indoors and outdoors. They prefer 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 will bite when they feel very threatened. Inside of properties, they are typically found in kitchens but can infest any room. 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 professional ant exterminator.


The History Of Rentokil Formerly Oliver Exterminating.

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