Ants are the most frequently encountered insect pests within homes and buildings in the US, and pest control professionals generally agree that they are also among the most difficult pests to control and eradicate from infested structures. There are several reasons for this, the most significant of which has to do with the relatively small size of ants. While most insect pests have no problem squeezing through a home’s exterior cracks, crevices and other narrow entry points in order to gain access indoors, ants are, unsurprisingly, particularly skilled in this regard.

Many ant pest species that are common in Massachusetts, such as carpenter ants, European fire ants, odorous house ants and pavement ants, are easily able to access and establish nests within inaccessible indoor areas, such as wall voids, beneath flooring and in tight attic spaces. Any group of insect pests that regularly nest and reproduce within homes, such as cockroaches, pantry moths and termites, are also generally difficult to eradicate.

Pharaoh ants are often cited as being the most difficult species of ant pest to eradicate from infested homes, as their exceptionally small size allows them to establish countless indoor harborages where pest control professionals may be unable to apply treatments. However, while workers in Pharaoh ant colonies are certainly tiny at 1.5 to 2 mm in length, thief ant workers are even smaller at 1.3 to 1.8 mm in length. For perspective, the 11 to 13 mm long black carpenter ant worker dwarfs workers of the thief ant species.

Thief ants are largely recognized as being the tiniest ant pests in the US, making their elimination from infested structures a laborious task for even the most seasoned pest control professionals. Although difficult to spot, the thief ant workers that homeowners are most likely to see foraging indoors are yellow or light to dark brown in color. Due to their similar appearances, thief ants are often mistaken for Pharaoh ants, but the former is always smaller and lighter in color than the latter. Unfortunately, if thief ant workers are spotted within a home, they have probably already established at least one indoor nest.

Have you ever found an abundance of tremendously tiny ant pests within your home?