Thief Ants in Vermont
Thief ants get their name from their habit of nesting near other, larger ants, then entering their nest to steal food and prey upon larvae. Found throughout much of Vermont, their nests are connected to the nests they rob by galleries that are too small for other ant species to access, but big enough for the tiny worker thief ants to move freely. Feeding on rodents and insects, thief ants also feed on potato chips and other greasy foods. They invade homes through cracks and crevices contaminating stored pantry products and packaged food items.
Thief Ant Habitat
Outdoors, nests are found in exposed soil, under rocks, or in rotting wood. Indoors, they nest in woodwork and masonry. Thief ants enter structures through cracks in the foundation or small openings in woodwork, especially during hot weather. They use electric wires in wall voids to move from one room to another. Commonly found in kitchen areas of homes, thief ants forage in trails seeking greasy foods, proteins, and dairy products.
Thief Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers
Although thief ants rarely bite, they are considered a dangerous pest as they feed on dead rats, mice, and insects, contaminating food as they forage. When they enter homes, thief ants may be carriers of disease-producing organisms, contaminating food sources as they forage. Thief ants trail inside cabinets, on walls, baseboards, tree branches, and shrubs. Due to their small size, they are able to forage into packaged foods. If a thief ant infestation is suspected, it is recommended to contact a licensed ant exterminator.
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