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White-Footed Ant

white footed antAlthough it’s new to Florida, the white-footed ant is most certainly here to stay.

The Culprit:

White-footed ants are small, dark brown ants that may look black to the naked eye. Their feet are creamy pale yellow, giving the ant its “white-footed” appearance. First noted in Miami/Dade, the white-footed ant is gradually spreading north and may now extend beyond Palm beach County.

What’s unique about the White-Footed ant?

– Their colonies are huge– from 50,000 to a few million adults– and feature complex structures consisting of several different “nests” or satellite structures.
– They do not share their digested food with others in the colony (trophallaxis), which reduces the impact of baits.
– The white-footed ant forages more aggressively than most ants, searching for sweet food sources inside and outside of homes in large numbers.
– They are extremely fertile: both winged and wingless ants reproduce to rapidly expand colony size.

Management and Control:

Residual insecticides, applied outside the home as a barrier can provide temporary relief from invading ants. Ants that cross the barrier do not die immediately, but at some point, they will die and carcasses may be found within the home. White-footed ant nests have been observed in attics, under roof shingles, in the petiole bases of palms, under loose bark, in dead wood, and any other moist areas surrounding homes. Pruning trees and shrubs touching the home is essential.

White-footed ants are not directly harmful to humans, pets or the structures they infest. However they are becoming South Florida’s number one nuisance pest.

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