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Thief ants are one of the smallest ants since they measure 1/16 inch or 3/50 inch in length. Workers are monomorphic, and have a yellowish or tan coloration. They have a ten-segmented antenna with two-segmented club. They are normally confused with the Pharaoh ants because of their similarity in color and size.
Since these ants prefer to steal food than search for them, their preferred habitats are created near places where they can steal them. Nest sites may be found in rotting wood, in tree cavities, under rocks, and in crevices of homes. These ants is found almost everywhere. They can create their homes in lawns, grassy areas, fields and meadows, golf courses, etc.
Thief ants are known for their thief like behavior. When they create a nest, they will create them in areas where other nests are also present so that they can steal the food of their neighbors and the larvae as well. The stolen larvae will be made as part of the food for the colony.
They prefer to eat protein foods, but they are also attracted to sweets. These ants will feed on dead insects, greasy foods, dairy products, honeydew, seeds, and so on.
The life cycle of thief ants starts with female and male alates. After mating, the female will search for a good area to find shelter. The new queen will search for a suitable field or lawn and will crawl underneath the surface to wait and lay her first batch of eggs. Some queens may bring workers from the old colony, while some queens will not have any workers at all to start building the new colony. After the first batch of eggs become adults, the workers will now become responsible in searching for food, managing the nest, and taking care of the queen. The queen’s main responsibility is to lay eggs. In a day, she can lay at least 105 eggs.
Thief ants start as an egg for 16 to 28 days. After it becomes a larvae, it will go through a couple of instars that will last for about 21 days until it reaches its final instars. Semi pupae may last for 2 to 11 days. Pupal stage will last for 13 to 27 days. After that, it will become a worker ant that will help the queen and the rest of the colony.
Other Information and Tips
Finding the nests of these ants is difficult because of their minuscule size and their ability to stay hidden. An effective way to get rid of these ants, is through baiting. Although it is not common for these ants to create nest indoors, they will still continuously go into your kitchen in search for greasy foods. They will go in and out of the kitchen, even if you try to get rid of them with the use of insecticides. The use of effective baits will allow the workers to carry the bait to their colony, which will then be fed to the queen. Once the queen is eliminated, the whole colony will die too.
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