Thief ants are a tiny species of ant whose name comes from their habit of building nests near other, larger ant species. Thief ants will create tiny tunnels to connect to the other ants’ nests. They then use these tunnels to steal larvae and pupae from the other colony as a food source.
Thief ants appear to be smooth and shiny and can be yellow, bronze, or dark brown in color. Their ten segment antennae end in a two-segmented club. Thief ants are known on average to grow to about 1/16 of an inch, but can range anywhere from 1/32 to 1/8th of an inch.
WHY DO I HAVE THIEF ANTS?
Thief ants thrive both indoors and outdoors. Outside of buildings, they will commonly nest in open areas of soil, beneath rocks, near sidewalks or foundations, and inside of rotting wood. While thief ants are known for stealing some of their food from other ants, they are also common foragers for food inside of homes.
A thief ant’s typical diet can include foods that are high in protein: grease, cheese, meat, and oily foods. Thief ants in homes will commonly make their nests behind woodwork and baseboards or beneath masonry and other flooring.
ARE THIEF ANTS DANGEROUS?
Thief ants cannot bite or sting, but they do pose some risk when they introduce diseases into your home or contaminate your food. Thief ants’ small size makes infiltrating food packaging a real concern. As they infest food packaging, they will often contaminate large quantities. Thief ants that feed on dead or decaying animals can introduce pathogens into your home that may pose risk of fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. They’re also thought to be intermediate hosts for poultry parasites and tapeworms.
HOW DO I GET RID OF THIEF ANTS?
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