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It is always stressful to experience an insect infestation within a home, but indoor insect pests can be hard to avoid, unless you live in Alaska. Many people may be lucky enough to avoid the horrors of a termite or bed bug infestation, but no matter how sanitary a particular home may be, there is a good chance that homeowners will experience a cockroach or ant infestation at some point during their lives. Ant pests are the most frequently encountered indoor pests, but some species are more trouble than others. While nobody wants to find ants in their home, finding pavement ants in a home is certainly preferable to finding, say, red-imported fire ants. In many cases, indoor ant infestations may come to an end without pest control intervention, as reducing food waste or sanitizing kitchen and bathroom areas is sometimes sufficient to deprive certain insect pests of the conditions that attracted them into a home in the first place. One particular species of ant that is particularly difficult to eradicate from homes is the S. molesta species, or the thief ant, as it is more commonly known.

Thief ants can be found in most regions of the United States, but they are particularly abundant in the northeast, and they are hard to come by in the south and southwestern portion of the country. These ants are often found within grassy fields and meadows, but they are particularly abundant around homes in residential and urban regions. These ants nest below the ground, but they often build nests within homes, particularly within basements, under baseboards, within wall-voids and crawl spaces. These ants are sometimes referred to as “grease ants” as they are often found eating grease in kitchens, but they also feed on a variety of human food sources, such as meats, dairy products, breads, animal fat and sweets. In fact, thief ants are notable for infesting food products within kitchen pantries and cupboards, and the US Food and Drug Administration includes thief ants on their “dirty 22” list, which is a list of the most common insect pests that spread foodborne illness. Due to their minute size, and cryptic indoor nesting habits, thief ants are difficult to eradicate from homes.

Have you ever discovered ants infesting your food items?