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How To Control White Footed Antswhite footed ants credit:flickr

Among the toughest species of ants to control, the white-footed ant has become a rising problem in the southern United States, particularly in Florida. The reason that they are hard to control is because colonies of white-footed ants have many reproductive queens which can make up nearly half the colony if left to their own devices. This can make their population grow to massive proportions and be a pain in the neck for homeowners.

First identified in Florida in 1986, the white-footed ant has become a nuisance in the Southeastern states of Florida, Louisiana and Georgia area after being imported by accident from Japan. The white-footed ant resembles the Crazy Ant and Odorous House ant but can be easily distinguished by their tarsi (section at the end of their legs) which are a very light yellow or yellowish white, hence the name.

White-footed ant colonies are very large with an average colony carrying a range of between 400,000 to well over 1 million ants. This puts food at a premium and as a result, these pests forage over a wide range of different food sources. Typically, these ants show up at food sources in large numbers.

If you are dealing with white footed ants on your property, you’re going to want to implement an effective control program before their numbers get out of hand. Solutions Pest and Lawn can deliver to you premium products designed to eliminate white footed ants on your property and can also give you helpful advice for you to perform DIY ant control effectively.

Browse our recommended products for treating white footed ants below. You can call, email or live chat with us online any time you wish if you have any questions or concern or would like free advice or recommendations. We will be glad to assist you.

How To Get Rid of White Footed Ants: 3 Step Solution

White footed ants are unique in that worker ants do not store or regurgitate or share food with the rest of the colony, making bait treatment an ineffective way of eliminating the ant population. However, there are alternative ways to tackle this troublesome pest which doesn’t involve baiting. At Solutions Pest and Lawn we have the tools necessary to get rid of white footed ants and will share with you the steps we recommend if you want to tackle this problem the DIY way.

Step 1: An effective way to treat white footed ants starts with a good inspection. We suggest starting your examination from the outside and work your way indoors. Outdoor ant colonies created by white-footed ants may be obvious but if they are not, observe ants and the trails they go on and hopefully they may lead you to where they are concentrated. If you happen to find the colony or nest, treat the ants using an insecticide like Reclaim IT with a hose end sprayer

Step 2:
Indoors you can use a combination of spray and dusts to treat trespassing white footed ants. We recommend using a non-repellent spray like Reclaim IT or an aerosol spray like Fipro Foaming Aerosol for cracks and crevices. Be sure to spray entry points, and around cracks and crevices and along floorboards and baseboards to keep the population from growing. Places where liquids cannot reach, apply dust via a hand duster. We recommend D-Fense Dust but we have plenty of other options which are effective.

Step 3:
Once the white footed ant problem has been eradicated, you can help keep them from re-invading by carrying out regular sanitation as well as putting in place some habitat modifications and exclusion measures to make your home less appealing to white footed ants. This can be done by: reducing moisture by fixing leaks, thoroughly cleaning your home (particularly the kitchen) to clear up crumbs and grease, sealing up cracks and crevices with caulk, clearing off debris and firewood from your home and trimming trees that touch your home.


Learn More About White Footed Ants

white footed ants
Credit:Wikimedia Commons

The white footed ant (scientific name: Technomyrmex difficilis) is a type of ant this is increasing in its prominence and is not frequently being encountered by homeowners based off pest control reports. Aside from its unique features, the white footed ant also has characteristics which has allowed them to thrive and establish themselves in the United States, primarily on the eastern part of the country.

The white footed ant has a broad distribution, with infestations having been found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana in the mainland.

The Appearance of the White Footed Ant

The white footed ant is small to medium in size when compared to other ant species. The white footed ant is black to brownish-black in color with the distinguishing trait of feet that appear to be cream colored, hence their common name.

White footed ants has 12 segmented antennae, 5 segments in their abdomen and no stinger. The white footed ant has been compared to the argentine ant based on appearance with the difference being that Argentine ants have a vertically projected petiole. In behavior, however, white footed ants are often mistaken as a crazy ant because of the way they move. However, they are differentiated via crazy ants being faster, having more hair on the body and due to the way they smell when they are squished or crushed.

Threat To Society

White footed ants are more of a nuisance pest than a insect capable of inflicting damage to humans or structures. Homeowners will be thankful to know that the white footed ant is an ant which does not bite or sting. However, they can infest homes and structures in large numbers which can be frustrating. The typical size of a white footed ant colony can vary from as little at 8,000 to as high as 3 million individual ants. Indoors, white footed ant populations can be found scavenging for food in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas around a building.


A white footed ant diet consists of plant nectars and honeydew, which is a sweet secretion produced by a number of sap-sucking insects such as aphids, mealybugs, and scales. White footed ants often strike little deals with these type of plant feeding insects, offering protection in return for honeydew. This relationship is known to detrimentally affect farming and agriculture in parts of the world.


White Footed Ant Life Cycle

One of the biggest strengths of the white footed ant which has enabled the insect to thrive in the US and become an increasing problem is their ability to reproduce in large numbers. Despite not having and defense abilities in place like a sting, biting mandibles or other trait to ward off predators, the white footed ant still manages to survive and grow.

Over half of an entire white footed ant colony consists of fertile, reproductive female ants who produce at height rates after mating with wingless male ants. The white foot ant offspring then develop under the watchful eye of the original queen and the nest population increases. Worker white footed ants forage outdoors to retrieve food resources that they share with the rest of the nest.

Eating Habits of the White Footed Ant

While white footed ants do have an affinity for sweet foods as we mentioned earlier, they also will feed on the bodies of dead insects and proteins. White footed ants are commonly found traveling along branches and trunks of trees and shrubs that contain nectars and/or sap-sucking insects that produce honeydew.


White footed ant colonies send out worker ants from their nests to search for new food to feed the population. When a food that attracts them is found, they leave pheromones in the area so that a trail of ants can home and take the food home piece by piece. Indoors and on buildings foraging white footed ants find their way inside wall voids where they follow electrical cables and emerge into various rooms, especially kitchens and bathrooms, where liquid and solid foods can be encountered resulting in heavy infestations and large trails of white footed ants.

Habitat of the White Footed Ant

White footed ants are versatile in where they choose to set up nests. A white footed ants nest can be found at or above ground level in various locations either indoors or outdoors. Nests set up outdoors are usually found around trees and bushes, tree holes, under leaves on trees, in loose mulch, under debris, in leaf-litter (both on the ground as well as in rain gutters), wall voids, and attics. The nest of white footed ants tend to be found out outdoors rather than indoors.

Where white footed ants choose to nest are usually areas which are close to their targeted food and moisture sources as well as places where they can be safe from predators and unfavorable environmental conditions. Often seeing multiple nests can indicate the same colony having branched off.

Controlling the White Footed Ant

White footed ants can be a frustratingly tough pest to control due to how large their colonies can be, but success control is possible. Baiting is by far the most effective means of tackling the white footed ant due to it being a species which likes to eat sweets.

Our personal suggestion is Ant-Trax Ant Bait. When baiting, it is important to do a thorough inspection and find all the areas of ant activity and even possible visible nests before proceeding with baiting so you know where to focus your bait efforts. While bait products may not be orally transferred between workers, they can eliminate enough workers to kill off the colony via starvation. With less workers around, there will be less food and so they starve to death rather than a bait transfer domino effect.  

Aside from baiting, applying an insecticide spray that is safe to spray on your garden and plants can help by killing aphids and other insects which white footed ants may get honeydew from.

Some preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of a white footed ant reinfestation includes trimming trees and shrubs surrounding the structure to the point where they don’t touch the home since these are often bridges for white footed ants to move on into a home.  Large trees infested with white footed ants that overhang near your home should also be trimmed back.


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