As their common name indicates, thief ants are known for their habit of raiding the nests of other ants for eggs, larvae and other food items. In order to accomplish this task, their colonies are typically found in close proximity to other ant colonies. Workers are small in size measuring only 1/16th of an inch in length and have tiny stinger. Their lighter yellowish or tan color commonly has them misidentified as Pharaoh ants, which they resemble. Due to their size, these ants commonly go unnoticed within the home. Thief ants enter homes and other structures through foundation cracks and gaps in search of food and moisture, most commonly during hot weather. Workers seek out protein, sweets and liquids which are returned to the nest. On the exterior of structures, aside from raiding neighboring colonies for food, thief ants will also feed on the carcasses of dead animals. Colonies may contain up to several thousand workers and multiple queens.
Due to potential colony size, control can be difficult and may require multiple treatments and several weeks. Protein based baits typically provide the greatest control results when treating for thief ants. Workers acquire bait as a potential source of food and return it to the colony’s food storage. Multiple applications of bait may be necessary in order to obtain control of the colony as it begins to feed on the bait placed into their food storages within the colony. Pest control professionals have the knowledge and effective baits necessary to eliminate colony activity. Some bait are harsh enough to kill workers prior to their re-entry into the colony, this results in bait only eliminating the surface workers and not the colony itself. Surface workers are soon repopulated by the colony and activity continues.