Physical Characteristics

Thief ant workers are tiny, about 1/16 long, and pale yellow to brown in color. They’re often confused with pharaoh ants, which are similar in size and color; under a magnifying glass, however, the thief ant has two-segmented club sections at the tip of its antennae, and the pharaoh ant has three segments. Thief ant queens are markedly larger, about 1/4 inches in size.

Thief Ant


Thief ants get their name from the heists they pull, venturing into other ant species’ nests and walking out with stored food, along with larvae and pupae, which they also eat. They’re also called grease ants, because they have an appetite for kitchen grease. Thief ants will nest in crevices, woodwork and masonry, and will explore inside a building, typically during the hot weather season, looking for food – high-protein meats, oils, nuts, dairy products and things containing animal fats, including disease-carrying dead rats and mice. They’ll also eat bread, fruit and other sweets.


First, sanitation; next, search out the source. Thief ants forage in columns, so follow the ant highway back to the nest. Ant baits are probably your best bet, but be careful – as the thief ant is often confused with the pharaoh ant, you may have a nest of the latter, in which case you’ll only want to use baits, because spraying any commercially available materials will cause the nest to splinter into several colonies, and soon you’ll have a much larger problem on your hands. When in doubt, call the expert technicians at Clark Pest Control.

Latin name: Solenopsis molesta