Biology: White-footed ants are found in Florida, Hawaii and isolated areas of California. This species may be spread to other warm southern regions of the United States on infested goods and plants.
White-footed ants nest in a variety of locations, and colonies can contain one million or more adults. These ants like to nest in dead wood, but will also invade and short out air conditioners. They nest in piles of lumber, firewood, stones, bricks, trash and heavy vegetation at foundations or in trees. Indoors, they nest in wall voids, potted plants and atriums.
A single colony can encompass many sites, both close by and far away from a single nest. These extended colonies exchange workers, brood and food.
White-footed ants establish well-defined, easy-to-find foraging trails outside infested buildings. Trails commonly follow edges of sidewalks, edges of brick buildings, ledges and soffit corners. Foragers often move into buildings from trees and shrubs touching walls or roofs. Once inside, workers forage along baseboards above and below carpet edges.
Food Preferences: White-footed ants prefer sweets. Outdoors, they feed on honeydew and tend aphids, mealybugs and scales. Trophallaxis (cross feeding) has not been observed in this species. Because of this, baiting programs will not be effective as a stand-alone management program.
Control Recommendations: Complete elimination of established white-footed ant infestations is difficult. Regular inspections and/or treatments are necessary for control. Cultural controls (sanitation, harborage elimination and exclusion) or chemical control that eliminates honeydew sources should be considered.