Thief AntThief Ants

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Scientific Name: Solenopsis molesta
Color: Light brown, yellow
Legs: Six
Shape: Segmented, Oval
Size: Less than 1/16-inch
Antennae: Yes
Flight: No

Thief ants derive their name from their habit of locating their colonies close to those of other ants to steal that ant's food and even capture and eat the other ant's eggs and larvae. They are one of the smallest ants found infesting buildings, measuring less than 1/16-inch in length.

Colonies can be several hundred to several thousand workers and multiple queens. They feed on a wide variety of organic items, including insects, honeydew and seeds.

This ant will nest in soil, in wood, in voids, and in just about any suitable location. Finding the nests is extremely difficult. In homes, trails are often seen in bathrooms and kitchens and in and around windows where the ants can find moisture and food. The ants nest in small crevices, in both wood and masonry.

Thief ants have been observed feeding on dead rats and mice and could contaminate human food with disease organisms.

Thief ants can be difficult to control. Often they are mistaken for Pharaoh ants; unfortunately, the baits used to control that ant may not be effective for thief ants. Thief ants tend to prefer foods with higher protein and fat content. The experience of a professional with access to a number of different ant baits is likely to achieve better results.