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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Ghost Ant Facts

Interesting ghost ant facts for kids.

The ghost ant, also known as Tapinoma melanocephalum scientifically, is quite small in length and is found in several countries of North America such as the United States and Canada. The ants are most common in the northern states of the United States. Several pieces of research state that the species was first developed in the African continent.

The female ghost ants or the queens are comparatively larger than the male ghost ants. The average length of these ants is 0.051-0.079 in (1.3-2 mm) while the queens are about 0.098 in (2.5 mm) long. The head and thorax of the ant are dark brown while the legs and abdomen are translucent or milky white in color. Unlike males, the head and dorsum are pale in the female ghost ants. These ants primarily prey on dead insects and get easily attracted by the smell of sweet foods.

Looking at the invasive nature of the species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has not evaluated the conservation status of ghost ants. Keep on reading to learn more interesting facts about the Ghost Ant. If you want to know more exciting information about different animals, check out leafcutter ant and black carpenter ant facts.


Ghost Ant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Ghost Ant?

The ghost ant is an invasive species of ant that are found in different countries of North America. These ants are attracted to sweet foods in the kitchen and pantries.

What class of animal does a Ghost Ant belong to?

The ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum) belongs to the class of Insecta, the family of Formicidae, and the Tapinoma genus.

How many Ghost Ants are there in the world?

The exact population of the ghost ants is not known as of now but the ant species is spread in several states of the United States such as Maine, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Kansas, and many more.  The population of the species in other countries of North America is also quite high.

Where does a Ghost Ant live?

The ants are found in several countries of the North American continent such as Canada and the United States. Also, ghost ants are found in Puerto Rico, the West Indies, and a few countries of the African continent. The ants are most common in the northern states of the United States.

What is a Ghost Ant's habitat?

The ghost ants generally live around humans, these ants can easily be spotted in houses, ant colonies can easily be found in kitchens and bathrooms as these ants are attracted to the odorous house. The ghost ants usually make their nest in gardens, trees. Also, cracks, book selves, wall voids in homes serve as a habitat for the ant species.

Who do Ghost Ants live with?

The ghost ants primarily live in polygene colonies, colonies in which multiple queens or female ants live. The ghost ant colonies consist of around 100-1000 ghost ant workers. The ghost ants build several nests within the colonies.

How long does a Ghost Ant live?

The exact lifespan of the ghost ants is not known as of now but like other ants, the species of ghost ants only live for a few weeks.

How do they reproduce?

The ghost ants follow the practice of polygamy while producing offsprings which means the female ants or queens mate with several male ghost ants to produce eggs. The courtship behavior involves hitting antennas rhythmically. After breeding, the queens lay about four to five eggs at a time. The larvae stage lasts for around two to four months before the hatching of eggs. As there are multiple queens in each colony, the process of laying eggs continues.

What is their conservation status?

The ghost ants are invasive and are found quite easily. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has not evaluated the status of the species.

Ghost Ant Fun Facts

What do Ghost Ants look like?

The male ghost ants have dark heads while the head and dorsum are pale in the female ghost ants. They have translucent abdomen and legs that are clearly visible in the photo. Also, the species is invasive and is prominently found in houses and gardens.

These rare ghost ant facts would make you love them

How cute are they?

People generally don't consider the ghost ants as cute. The ant has a dark head and thorax while their abdomen and legs are translucent which is quite nasty for many people. Also, the ghost ants are invasive and prominently attracted to odorous houses and moisture sources in kitchens and bathrooms. These insects are found in colonies around wall voids as well.

How do they communicate?

Like other species of ants, these tropical species use similar methods to communicate with each other. The ghost ants are very hard-working and friendly to each other, they use their antennas and legs to feel the pheromones released by other ants to identify their partners in the nests. Also, the ghost ants use different sounds such as chirping and this method is known as stridulation.

How big is a Ghost Ant?

The ghost ants are not large in size and the average length of these ants is 0.051-0.098 in (1.3-2.5 mm).  Some of the ants are twice the size of the Pharoah ants that are found throughout the world except the Antarctica continent. Also, the ghost ants are twice the size of the Stigmella Maya moths.

How fast can a Ghost Ant move?

These ants do not have wings but with the help of translucent legs and two antennas, the ghost ants move. They are known to scurry along pretty quickly for their small size.

How much does a Ghost Ant weigh?

There is no exact information regarding the weight of these house ants.

What are their male and female names of the species?

People usually refer to the male ghost ants as drones while the term queen is used to refer to the female ghost ants.

What would you call a baby Ghost Ant?

There is no specific name to refer to the baby of a ghost ant but people also use the term antling to refer to the baby of a ghost ant.

What do they eat?

The ants are also known as house ants for several reasons. They are found in potted plants, rooms, gardens, kitchens, and bathrooms. These ants primarily prey on dead insects, fruits, sweet foods in the kitchens, honeydew, and many more. When some food attracts them, they form new colonies.

Are they dangerous?

The ghost ants are quite small in size so it becomes clear that the species could not harm humans. But, if someone tries to attack or come closer to their nests the ants usually bite people to defend their nests or territory. These ants don't cause any threats to domestic animals, unlike the banded sugar ants. Also, as we know, these pests are invasive, are attracted to the food, and can easily contaminate the food in our houses.

Would they make a good pet?

People do not consider ghost ants as pets but as pests. Unlike other animals, these ants are not friendly or share a bond with humans. People cannot keep them in confined places as they need open spaces to make their nests. Also, it becomes quite impractical to keep the ghost ants as pets without the queen or female ghost ant in their nests.  

Did you know...

Unlike other animals, the ghost ants have a unique characteristic. Due to their light body weight, they repel water and can easily float on the surface of the water.

Big insects, snakes, frogs, lizards, and birds are the major predators or enemies of the ghost ants. But their translucent abdomen and legs help them to hide and disguise the ghost ants and for the predators, it becomes very difficult to see them.

Ghost Ants and humans

Humans generally hate ghost ants because of the invasive nature of the species and refer to them as pests. These pests are attracted to sweet food and are found from potted plants to bathrooms. These pests usually don't attract or bite humans but can contaminate the food.

People also use several baits to prevent ghost ant infestation. Baits such as ant bait gel, a combination of borax, water, and sugar attract these ants. These baits expose the entire colony of ghost ants. Also, these ants dislike the smell of vinegar so the liquid helps to prevent ghost ant infestation in the future.

Do Ghost Ants have a queen?

Around 100-1000 worker ghost ants form a colony and the colony also consists of several queens or female ghost ants. The primary role of the queens is to lay eggs and produce offsprings. It is also said that the female ghost ant is referred to as the founder of the colony.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the green stink bug, or stick bug.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our I is for Ghost ant coloring pages.

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