Thief Ants

Quick Stats

  • Latin Name: Solenopsis molesta
  • Size: Thief ants are tiny, usually measuring between 1-2mm long
  • Color: Most are yellowish but some are light brown or dark brown
  • Shape: Distinguished by 10 segmented antennae, a waist with two nodes, and very small compounded eyes
  • Found in: Namely in the central states such as Kansas and Nebraska as well as along the East Coast.
  • Overview: Thief ants rarely forage an area that hasn’t already been established. They love to feast on household items like flour, grain, and peanut butter

About Thief Ants

Thief ants aren’t very aggressive. They rarely establish their own foraging trails and instead tend to stick to the trails other ants and pests have already formed. They’ll eat pretty much anything but have a particular preference for protein sources like nuts, cheese, and meat. Because they often feed on other insects and even rotting animals they carry a high risk of pest-borne pathogens and should be taken seriously.

This species got its name from its penchant for ‘stealing’ food from pantries, cabinets, and kitchens and are sometimes colloquially called “Sugar ants.” If you find a box of cereal full of holes or a few drowned ants in the peanut butter jar you may very well have a Thief Ant infestation. They’re also known for stealing larvae from neighboring ant colonies for food.

Facts About Acrobat Ants

Thief ants are very difficult to get rid of because of their size. They’re not sensitive to weather conditions in the way some other species are and can be found building nests under rocks, in rotting tree stumps, or even inside your walls. If you see one or two Thief ants you can rest assured there are thousands more close by. Unless you see signs of food being eaten or damaged, catching a trail of Thief ants in the act is one of the only ways to know you’ve got a problem.

Because their nests are so hard to locate and they’re capable of transmitting serious illnesses it’s recommended you call a professional immediately if you suspect you have Thief ants in your home. Home solutions such as baits and powders may eliminate a particular habitat but they’re unlikely to wipe out an entire colony of ants without targeted, repetitive treatment.

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