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The Difference Between Ghost Ants and Pharaoh Ants in Fort Lauderdale

Professional ant control for ghost ants and pharaoh ants in FTL

October 17, 2022

The intense heat of Florida can be harsh for some people, but there are many insect species that think it’s just fine and dandy here. Whether you own a home, are renting an apartment, or are managing a larger building, you may have had a run-in with some pesky ants.

Sugar ants, pavement ants, and carpenter ants, the list goes on and on! There are so many different types of ants, but it’s a good idea to understand the common ants in Fort Lauderdale so you can precisely identify them in the event of an infestation. 

Different ants will require different treatments, so it’s important to approach each ant species correctly.

Today we want to highlight two troublemaker ants: ghost ants and pharaoh ants.

Keep reading as we discuss how to identify each ant, and ways you can prevent or treat these crazy ant colonies!

Ghost Ants

Ghost ants have found their ideal living conditions in the southern part of the United States, especially in Florida. The hot and humid weather has supported the ghost ant population enough that they are now a common southern household pest. In fact, they are one of the most common contributors to ant problems, and many homeowners find trouble from these crazy ants.

They can sometimes be found in the northern parts of the United States as well, but usually only in the summertime, or in greenhouses or warm heated buildings.

Why are they called “ghost ants?’ Their name may be in reference to their reputation as “invisible ants” due to them being incredibly hard to spot and identify.

How to Identify Ghost Ants 

It may be hard to identify a ghost ant, since it’s extremely small, around 1.3 to 1.5 mm long. One key identifier that may help you spot them, is the dark brown color of their head and thorax. 

Their legs and abdomen are translucent, milky white. The size along with the coloration is what makes them often hard to spot.

How Do Ghost Ants Act?

One reason that ghost ants are such an intensive problem is that they love their opportunities when it comes to forming colonies and nests. Basically, they like to huddle up in the most inaccessible areas which is why, oftentimes, you don’t know you have an infestation or how many ants in your home there really are. 

Potted plants, small areas between walls in your kitchen and bathroom, and even outdoors in areas with residual moisture are top favs for ghost ant hiding spots. 

They also have no problem moving around if conditions change. Many different types of insects are attracted to household foods, ghost ants are one of them, but they tend to have quite the sweet tooth! 

Aside from their appearance, another way to determine if you are dealing with ghost ants is the smell they leave when crushed. People often compare the smell to rotten coconuts.

How to Manage Ghost Ants

If you find a ghost ant infestation in your own home or business, then there are a few steps that you can take to help address them. Cleanliness is key when it comes to ghost ants, and you’ll want to make sure that you pay attention to where you’re finding ghost ants and focus your efforts there. 

Food, even the smallest crumbs, will attract ghost ants and many others. You’ll want to buy some airtight containers to store your food to keep these ants away.

Outside of typical food sources, you will also need to consider what plants you have in the area of concern, as certain plants are known to attract ants. 

These ants may also attack plants, producing a sweet product called honeydew (different from the fruit) that can attract ants as well. Keep control of aphids and other insects if you have plants so you can decrease the amount of ants in your home.

Fun Facts About Ghost Ants

  • They’re native to the Old World Tropics, which consists of Africa, Europe and Asia. 
  • They’re so light that they can repel water and float.
  • Their translucent abdomens allow them to blend in and hide from predators. 
  • Some predators that can get rid of ghost ants are large insects, frogs, snakes, lizards, and birds. 

Pharaoh Ants

The exact reason Pharaoh Ants got their name is still unclear, but it may be because they are mistakenly thought of as one of the plagues of ancient Egypt. It actually used to be called “Pharaoh’s ant.” 

Just as you might assume from the name, the pharaoh ant is invasive and originated from Northern Africa. Now, however, these ants can be found worldwide, in South America, northern states, and right here in Florida.


While most Pharaoh Ant workers will be the same size, they can vary in length from 1.5 to 2mm long. While a bit larger than the ghost ant, they have a less distinctive appearance, as their bodies will mostly range from yellowish or light brown to red. The back of the any may appear a bit darker as well.

They may be confused with other ants because of similar colors, but there are some subtle physical differences that set them apart. It is difficult to tell with the naked eye though, so if you are worried about a pharaoh ant infestation, you might wanna call a pest control company near you.


While the Florida heat does allow pharaoh ants to nest outside in some areas, they often prefer to nest indoors. Key nesting sites inside will include spaces between walls and other areas where moisture and food can be readily found. 

Although these are the typical spots they are found, they have also been known to nest in piles of clothes or trash, and even in between sheets of paper.

These ants can cause issues because they get into even the most complicated areas to get food. The problem is that they often contaminate the food in houses and restaurants, leaving a lot to go to waste. 

While they’ll feed on just about any food type, pharaoh ants have been shown to have an attraction toward sweet and fatty foods. A good sign that you may have a pharaoh ant problem is if you notice long trails of ants leading towards food. 

Pharaoh ants will leave these ant trails so that other workers can use them to find food. pharaoh ants are also known for having multiple queens who have long lifespans. This allows their colonies to grow pretty big and stay there if the nesting sites aren’t dealt with.

Pharaoh ants are tricky, so keep reading to learn how to deal with them! 

How to Manage Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are one of the most difficult ants to control in Florida, because they like to nest in areas that are less accessible. 

You might have some tried and true household remedies for your typical ant infestations, but the pharaoh ant is notable for being able to survive most ant treatments. Keeping food waste under control and storing food as securely as possible is always recommended.

Also, make sure to seal all entry points and consider putting ant bait near the wall voids. A caulking gun can seal your home. If you don’t have one, just call an exterminator - all of our technicians have caulk and can seal up all the tiny ant openings. 

There are some baits and more advanced treatments that work well for treating a pharaoh ant problem, but you may want guidance from a qualified exterminator so the baits can work as effectively as possible.

It is always important to take steps to manage food waste and security around your home to help prevent infestations of ants and other insects, but no approach or person is perfect. These stubborn, pesky ants often make their way right into your home.

Some home treatments may work on some ants, or for a short term, but if you find yourself with an ant problem you have difficulty managing, then it is time to look for professional ant control.

Fun Facts About Pharaoh Ants

  • Most ants don’t carry diseases; however, pharaoh ants can carry salmonella, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and more, which is why it’s a problem when they contaminate food.
  • They typically like to invade private nursing facilities, clinics and hospitals where they can also contaminate sterile equipment.
Brownish reddish ants in Fort Lauderdale

 The Best Local Ant Control in FTL

Since it’s notably difficult to get rid of pharaoh ants and ghost ants in Fort Lauderdale, if you notice signs of an infestation, it might be time to get help. Colonies can spread and multiply quickly and you don’t wanna have to worry about creepy crawling critters in the middle of the night. 

Good news! Native Pest Management is ready to be by your side and fight off all of the pharaoh ants and ghost ants in or around your home until they’re gone. 

As leading pest control experts across Florida, we’re committed to making our services exceptional. That includes our ant services, as well as professional termite control, professional whitefly control, professional mosquito control, professional cockroach control, professional lawn care and more!

We can do home ant control as well as commercial ant control. Pharaoh ants are known for infesting businesses like restaurants and hospitals and cause risks of contamination since they carry infections.

If you’re a business owner and are suspecting you could have a pharaoh ant infestation, call us to learn more about commercial pharaoh ant control!

The other ants in Fort Lauderdale we service include sugar ants, carpenter ants, pavement ants, acrobat ants, Argentine ants and big headed ants. For those other ants, we still stand by our advice to avoid repellant sprays, keep up with the cleaning in your home, seal up openings and take out the trash regularly. 

While you can do all your research and become an ant control expert, the fastest way will be to call a pest control company that knows the in’s and out’s of all things ants. Native Pest Management understands your situation and has all the equipment and knowledge you need to get rid of ants in Fort Lauderdale. 

Just a few of the many neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale we service: 

  • Bay Colony
  • Coral Ridge Isles
  • Coral Shores
  • Croissant Park
  • Dillard Park
  • Dolphin Isles
  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale
  • Edgewood
  • Flagler Village
  • Flamingo Park
  • Himmarshee Village (Historic District)
  • Home Beautiful Park
  • Idlewyld
  • Imperial Point
  • Knoll Ridge
  • Lake Aire-Palm View
  • Lake Estates
  • Montego Bay
  • Navarro Isle
  • North Golf Estates
  • Nurmi Isles
  • Oak River
  • Port Royale
  • Progresso Village
  • Rio Vista
  • Sunrise Intracoastal
  • Tarpon River
  • Tropical Point
  • Victoria Park

And more! We service all over Fort Lauderdale. If you’re outside the Fort Lauderdale area, we also perform ant control services in West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Miami and Tallahassee.

Call us today or visit our website to see where we can provide ant control near you

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