The White Foot ants are originally native to tropical Asia. They were inadvertently introduced into the United States in 1986 around the Homestead Florida area. They were brought into this country through landscaping foliage and have expanded into several counties throughout the state.
White Foot Ants are identified by their robust black bodies with distinctive lighter color on their lower legs called Tarsi. They are about 1/8th of an inch long with regular sized antennae and legs. They have thick hairs on their thorax, lines across their gaster, with a hidden node.
White Foot Ants do not bite or sting and do not cause any structural damage. They are just a strong nuisance ant that is attracted to sweet foods. The primary food for White Foot Ants is the honey dew off of plants that is produced by aphids, but will trail into a structure foraging for food.
Until recently the White Foot Ant where difficult to control due to several of their biological attributes. They establish colonies of well over 0ne million ants, with more than half of the ants being worker ants. These workers are sterilized females that are responsible for foraging for food and tending to the care of the nest.
The White Foot ants do not share their food with each other as most other types of ants. The way the White Foot Ant feeds their colonies is by the foraging worker eats food or even our insecticide killing baits and then returns to the colony. There that worker will lay a soft shell non fertile egg that the colony knows is their food source. They then will eat the non fertile egg and not the food that the worker has eaten outside the nest. With this method of feeding the colony giving the worker ants killing insecticide bait will only kill that worker and not be effective to kill off the colony.
Collier Pest Control, Southwest Florida’s Pest Authority, has developed its own method of treatment to effectively control White Foot Ants. With the experience of the staff and with the cooperation of the Entomology department of the University of Florida we have one of the most effective treatments to successfully control the White Foot Ant. Knowing the problem of not being able to get killing insecticide baits back to the colony, the next direction of control is to starve the colony out by not letting the workers go back to the colony.
The Collier Pest Control’s method of eliminating White Foot Ants is a 6 consecutive week treatment. The first week is to treat the house with a Collier Complete service use contact sprays to kill off all live activity throughout the inside of the house. Use killing insecticide baits in all active areas and treat the attic with a dust material. Outside we use many materials to kill off White Foot workers. We treat the perimeter of the house and all trailing activity with a special residual material.
We also spray a wide perimeter around the house up to 40 feet treating all foliage, and turf with another long term residual material. Each week there after we bait and spot treat the inside of the house and wide perimeter spray the outside of the house. By doing this we are killing off large numbers of White Foot worker ants not letting them return to feed the colony. Each week when we kill off these large numbers of worker ants, the queens then send more worker ants out to forage for food and then return to feed the nest. An ant’s life cycle from egg to adult is 6 to 8 weeks.
The queens do not have enough time to replenish the nest with new workers as fast as we are killing off her workers. After about 3 to 4 weeks so many workers are now killed off the colony does not have enough workers to tend to the colony properly or forage for food that the nest collapses from lack of care. We have starved the White Foot colony and eliminated our customer’s problem.