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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Insects, Spiders, Mice & More

Thief Ant Identification

Resources to help you identify thief ants found in Nebraska.

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Thief Ant - Photo courtesy of

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Thief Ant (also called "Grease Ant") Identification (Two Node Ant)

Thief Ant (Solenopsis molesta)

Thief Ant

Solenopsis molesta

Thief Ant Size

Description of Workers: Tiny, around 1/32-inch to 1/16-inch (1-1.5 mm); yellowish; often confused with Pharoah ant, but has 2 segments in the club-like structure at the end of the antenna (Pharoah ant has 3 segments).


Thief ants often live in association with other ants as a predator of their brood. These ants are omnivorous and prefer grease or high protein foods over sweets. This is a frequent house-invading ant and may nest indoors in cracks and cupboards. Thief ants are more likely to have an indoor nest than the Pharoah ant.


Treat with an appropriate product based on the location of the ants. Baits are not effective.

View Thief Ant Photos - UNL Department of Entomology

The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office


  • Ant illustrations were developed by Vicki Jedlicka, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County
  • Photo Courtesy of Photographer: April Nobile

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