Ghost Ant


Actual Size: 1.3 to 1.5 mm

Characteristics: Tiny; head and thorax are dark and the 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.


  • 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 Northern Utah

Ghost ants are a tropical and subtropical species and are very common household pests in Northern Utah. 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 dark head, light body, 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 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, activity is typically concentrated in the kitchen, although any room can be 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. 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. If you suspect a ghost ant infestation, it is best to consult a licensed ant exterminator.