It is safe to say, everyone will encounter an ant or two at some point in their lives as there are an estimated 22,000 species of ants in the world, and only 12,500 are identified. The most common of pests that can easily infest any home, business, or other structures are ants, among others. Quite a few ants will wander into homes and businesses as they are driven by the need to forage food for their colonies that can have thousands to hundreds of thousands of members. Though there are quite a few species of ants in California alone, today, we at Animal Pest Management would like to focus on Thief Ants, among the most common in the area.
Identification of Thief VS Pharaoh Ants
As one of the smallest ant species, thief ants only measure about 1/16 inches long. The color of these ants ranges from a yellowish color to brown. Proper identification can be made with the several characteristics unique to thief ants, however, they are often confused with pharaoh ants due to the close resemblance. Where pharaoh ants have 12 segmented antennae ending with a three-segmented club, the thief ant have 10 segmented antennae ending with a two-segmented club upon a closer inspection. Also, pharaoh ants are not as well-defined with their foraging as thief ants are and only tend to become more organized once the scouts have found a food or water source. Other physical traits of thief ants include a waist with two nodes, a thorax without spines, and small compound eyes.
Where are Thief Ants Found?
Through cracks in woodwork, holes in walls, and open doors are the common ways thief ants wander inside. Their diet includes peanut butter, nuts, meats, cheese, dead insects and rodents but they are especially partial to greasy, protein-rich foods and sweets. They can potentially transmit pathogens from a food source to human food due to their feeding habits. As they search for a food and water source on particular hot days, people can almost expect their intrusion. When the thief ants make it inside, their nests can be found beneath countertops, behind baseboards, and in cabinet voids and wall crevices. Outdoors, these ants are drawn to under undisturbed rocks as well as rotting wood and soil.
Thief Ant Species AKA Grease Ants
Being very tiny, thief ants are problematic, being able to wiggle into your unopened-packaged food, and as mentioned, their feeding habits can leave your food supply contaminated with transmittable diseases. Because of their fondness for sweets and grease, they are sometimes referenced to as grease ants and sometimes sugar ants as well. Their initial name, however, thief ants, are because they have the habit of stealing larvae and pupae from neighboring colonies.
Ant Control Services in San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside & San Diego Counties, California
Due to how tiny they are, the only evidence of their presence is actually seeing them as they forage. Within about 50 days to a couple months, these ants will fully develop into adults. The thief ant mating swarms are noticeable from June through September, where their indoor summer activities may also be observed. If you spot these pesky ants, or are dealing with any ant infestation, call Animal Pest Management Services for quality pest control services and let our certified technicians eliminate the infestation!