Thief Ant Identification Resources

Thief Ant - Photo courtesy of

Thief Ant (also called "Grease Ant") (Solenopsis molesta)

Thief Ant
Thief Ants (Solenopsis molesta)

Thief Ant
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

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This resource was updated November 2015 by Soni Cochran, Extension Associate

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

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