Thief Ant

Appearance

range anywhere from 1/32 (0.5 mm) of an inch to 1/8 (3 mm) of an inch long. They can be yellowish or brownish tones of color. These ants have a two-segmented petiole connecting their abdomen to the thorax. They have 10 segments in their antennae, which end in large segmented clubs. Thief ants have small stingers on their oblong abdomen, and generally have small eyes. Worker ants have large jaws for carrying food back to the colony.

Habit

Nests occur in a great variety of locations outside, especially under rocks. May nest indoors in cracks and cupboards.

Usually have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand workers. Colonies have multiple queens. The amount of thief ants in a colony depends on the location. Colonies with a reliable and ready food source don’t have as many workers because food is not hard to get. Since this species of ants are so small, they can colonize just about anywhere. They can live in people’s homes without them ever knowing that they have an infestation of tiny ants. Thief Ants are common in homes, and due to their small size they can easily enter sealed packages of food. Other thief ant colonies are inside other ant colonies. They then eat the food and sometimes larva of the host ants. They will eat just about anything, including dead animals, and will travel great distances in search for food. Once food has been found, a trail is formed from the colony to the food so the other thief ant workers can find it.

Diet

Feeds on immature forms of other ants and insects. Also attracted to greasy or high-protein foods, such as cheese and animal matter.

Reproduction

Queens lay an average of 105 eggs, which incubate for 16 to 28 days. Larval stage may last 21 days in summer, but can last throughout the winter.