How to Get Rid of White Footed Ants
August 16, 2022
Every day in Florida, we encounter various species of ants, including ghost ants, big-headed ants, acrobat ants, pharaoh ants, fire ants, and the dreaded white footed ants/treatment-plans (Technomyrmex difficilis forel.)
Why are they dreaded? When we hear that a home has white footed ants, we immediately know it's going to be more challenging than the run-of-the-mill ant infestations we eliminate daily.
The difficulty in getting rid of these ants is mainly due to the large size of their colonies. Completely eliminating these ants usually takes more than one treatment, but it can be done.
What do White Footed Ants Look Like?
As you can likely guess from their name, white footed ants have white feet (tarsi). Their body is a black to brownish-black color. If you are in Florida and happen to see tiny ants that have a white body, it is more likely that you are seeing ghost ants instead of white footed ants.
If you look at them closely under a magnifying glass or microscope, you'll notice that they have five abdominal segments, six legs, and twelve segmented antennae.
If you aren't sure if the "ants" you're seeing are indeed ants, or actually termites, the easiest way to tell the difference is by looking at the waist of the insects in question. Ants have "pinched" waists, whereas termites have a waist that is the same width as the rest of their body.
white footed ants have been confirmed in the southern half of Florida, ranging from Daytona Beach, FL to Key West, FL. While they have large colonies that are difficult to control, they are not the most common ant we have found during pest control inspections throughout the state.
More often, we've seen ghost ants, fire ants, and big-headed ants.
These ants and other ants are often inadvertently transported to properties when new landscaping or mulch is installed. If white footed ant colonies were infesting shrubs or trees at a nursery or landscape company, they can be easily brought onto your property when you have new plants or trees brought in.
If you haven't had any recent landscaping done, most likely these ants have been spreading from house to house in your neighborhood.
Do White Footed Ants Bite?
Fortunately, unlike some other ants that we encounter daily, white footed ants don't bite, and they don't cause any structural damage.
However, as you know if you're reading this article, they are certainly a nuisance pest.
What do White Footed Ants Eat?
Like many other types of ants, white footed ants are attracted to sweet and sugary foods. When most people think of how to prevent ants, they think of sealing up foods in their pantry or cleaning up any food particles that may be on their floors or kitchen countertops.
In reality, the sweet food that is attracting most of the ants to your home is on the shrubs and trees outside. Insects like mealybugs, aphids, scale and whiteflies consume the nutrients of these plants and trees and secrete a substance called honeydew that ants eat.
You could have a perfectly clean house and it could be infested with White Footed Ants due to the honeydew outside. Due to this honeydew, you'll usually find these and other ants on branches and leaves of plants and trees adjacent to your home.
When these ants find food, whether it's inside your home or on the outside, they lay trail pheromones which are scents that tell the other ants in the colony what trail to follow to reach the food source.
How to Get Rid of White Footed Ants
Our favorite method of control is to eliminate the food source that is ultimately causing white footed ants to be attracted to your home. By treating the sap-sucking insects like mealybugs, aphids, scale, and whiteflies that are on your shrubs and trees, we will eliminate the source of the honeydew that these ants eat.
If there is no honeydew surrounding your home, these ants will have no incentive to lay pheromone trails from colonies on neighboring properties to your property.
To eliminate these sap-sucking insects, we prefer the use of systemic products either applied as a foliar spray or to the roots of the plants via a liquid root drench or granular product application. If applied following label instructions, these products will be absorbed into the leaf material of plants and trees.
When sap-sucking insects try to ingest the nutrients from these plants and trees, they will also ingest the active ingredient which will kill them.
Brand names of products that will eliminate the insects in your landscape producing honeydew include Dominion 2L, Tristar, Meridian, and Acelepryn.
In conjunction with eliminating their food source, we also recommend applying a combination of granular and liquid baits to any active white footed ant trails. We have used Maxforce Complete Granular Insect Bait, Intice 10 Perimeter Bait, Niban bait, Quantum ant bait, Intice Thiquid ant bait, and Advion ant bait.
To get rid of white footed ants completely, be sure to regularly apply fresh bait following the label guidelines, since liquid baits can dry out quickly.
Lastly, we recommend applying a non-repellent liquid product containing fipronil as an active ingredient along the foundation of your home on a quarterly basis. A non-repellent means that it won't kill the ants on contact and won't interfere with their pheromone trail.
This is important because to achieve complete control, you need the ants to survive long enough to bring the active ingredient of the non-repellent spray and the active ingredient in the ant baits back to the colony.
If you use a contact kill spray, the ants you spray will die on contact and you'll never be able to kill the colony. These contact kill sprays are ineffective for long-term ant control and interfere with the above treatment process.
Pest Control Near Me
The above guidance is exactly the method we follow to get rid of white footed ants and other ants in and around homes and businesses in Florida.
If you would prefer to hire experts instead of doing it yourself, we certainly understand. By using Alexa or Siri and searching for "pest control near me" or "exterminator near me," you can hopefully be connected with the top rated pest control company in your area.
With offices in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Doral, FL, West Palm Beach, FL, Port St. Lucie, FL and Tallahassee, FL, and over 3,000 five star reviews on sites including Google, Yelp, the BBB, and Facebook, we consider ourselves pest control professionals.
If you are in our service area, which also includes all of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Leon counties, we look forward to helping provide you the peace of mind that you'll no longer have white footed ants or any other ants to worry about.