White-footed Ant

Category:

Actual Size: 2.7 mm

Characteristics: Black to brownish-black with yellow-white tarsi (feet)

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Outdoors, will nest at or above ground level in trees, bushes, leaf litter. Indoors, nests are located in attics and wall voids.

Habits:

  • Colonies range from 8,000 to 3 million individuals
  • Have been known to short-circuit air conditioning units
  • Attracted to sweet foods and will also feed on dead insects

White-footed Ants in Puerto Rico

White-footed ants (WFA) get their common name from their very light-colored feet. Mature colonies can range from 8,000 to 3 million individuals. These ants are found throughout Puerto Rico. They feed on plant nectars and honeydew, which is a sweet substance produced by many sap-sucking insects such as aphids, mealybugs, and scales. These ants are considered by homeowners to be a nuisance pest because they are frequently observed foraging in kitchens, bathrooms, and the exterior of buildings.

White-footed Ant Habitat

White-footed ants are arboreal ants, commonly found trailing along tree trunks, branches and shrubs. White-footed ants build their nests at or above ground level in numerous locations in and around homes. They will enter structures through any small openings and can be seen trailing heavily on interior and exterior walls of buildings. Nests can be found in trees, bushes, under palm fronds, leaf litter, rain gutter, wall voids and attics. Colonies are large and seem to be interconnected with other WFA nests in the area. Once inside, these ants can cause a lot of problems as they infest homes and businesses.

White-footed Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

White-footed ants do not bite or sting but can be a significant household pest. Of all structure-infesting ants, the WFA may be the most difficult to control. Due to their high reproductive rates and ability to build multiple connecting nests, WFA’s can become a homeowners’ nightmare. These ants are generally found foraging in kitchens, bathrooms and the exterior of homes. They are attracted to light switches and electrical boxes and may cause them to fail. White-footed ants reproduce at phenomenal rates, and satellite colonies may be established over a wide area as part of one super colony. If you notice this ant in or near your property, it’s time to call a licensed ant exterminator.