As the majority of ant species prefer sunny climes, our climate is not suitable for many of them. However, the few species found here could be a nuisance when they get into your home. Garden or Black ants aren't thought to carry diseases, the trouble is you don't know where they've been foraging outside, so you won't want them marching through your food cupboards. Ants will travel in a wide range searching for food, following trails they have established and clustering around the source of food, becoming a nuisance in homes, organisations and businesses. Small piles of earth around holes in soil and at the base of exterior walls indicate their origin.
Track down where they are coming in and seal off the entry point. Clear up any sticky residues on worktops, because ants are attracted to sweet things. Cover up any foodstuffs, which could be a food source for ants.
Workers are about 4-5mm long. Queens are about 15mm long. They are dark brown-black in colour with 1 small segment at waist point (pedicel). They do not have a sting present.
Queens will over winter in the soil. Eggs are laid in late spring. Larvae hatch 3-4 weeks later. Larvae feed on secretions from the queen's salivary glands until the first worker ants emerge. Worker ants continue with larval care, nest building and food foraging. Fertile males are produced later in the season.
Foraging worker ants follow well-defined trails around food sources. Sweet foods are preferred but high protein foods will also be taken. Swarming characteristics, mating between queens and fertile males takes place on the wing mid to late summer. Males perish after mating. Nest locations, often outdoors in soil and below paving slabs on the sunny side of buildings. Nest locations can be identified by the presence of finely powdered soil around nest exit holes.
Reddish brown in colour. Workers are 2mm long and have one large segment at the pedicel. First two segments of the abdomen are constricted, with sting present.
Little is known about the lifecycle.
Workers forage randomly and lay no trails as live prey are hunted, especially springtails. They are rarely seen outdoors. They will swarm all year round. Winged adults are often found in electric fly killers. Nest locations are in damp residues and debris. Crevices around drains and behind broken wall tiles.
Workers are 1.5-2mm long, yellow-brown with brown abdomen. Males are 3mm long, black and winged. Queens are 3.5-6mm long, dark red in colour with wings, they have black eyes and two small segments at the pedicel.
Multi-queen colonies. Swarming can take place at any time of the year. Winged adults seldom fly so rarely seen. Wings are lost soon after mating.
Well-defined trails are laid which are often associated with heating systems. They feed indoors on high protein foods, meat, fats, blood, dead insects, etc. Swarming characteristics, new colonies are often formed through nests that have been disturbed e.g., as a result of insecticide spray treatments. Each queen produces up to 3500 eggs in its lifetime. Nest locations, deep seated in cavities in heated buildings. Often found in hospitals. They are associated with humid conditions. Colonies can range from a few dozen to 300,000 individuals.
Pale translucent legs and abdomen about 1/16 inch long.
Continuous breeding colonies.
Feeding indoors on sweet substances and grease, outdoors on insects that produce honeydew. They nest indoors in small spaces and wall voids or outdoors in flowerpots, under objects on the ground and under loose bark. They are attracted to high moisture areas and can be found in kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Colonies can occupy several different nesting sites.
Dark brown or blackish about 1/8 inch long with 6 legs and 2 spines on the back. They have two nodes on petiole and grooves on the head and thorax. Thorax uneven with 1 pair of spines. It has12-segmented antennae with 3-segmented club.
Visible spring and summer. Have been known to emerge any time of the year in heated structures.
Feeding they will eat almost anything that humans eat and also pet food. Visibly they can be seen entering buildings looking for food, most often at night. They may move through pipes and electrical wires. Nesting takes place in lawns or under stones, wood, or boards. Mounds built along sidewalks, baseboards and near foundations in clusters. Colonies are found near water.
If you're seeing large numbers of live insects then you may well have a problem. If you find them in your kitchen or in areas where you prepare food, then you need to do something about it fast. Ant pathways in and out of your home or premises are another sign. Some types of ant will lay down a pheromone trail to a food source.
This chemical attracts other ants to find the food. A nest site can look like a small pile of soil or dirt. Some species of ant like to make their home in walls or other quiet, dark places, which are more difficult to spot.
Ants belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. They are close relatives of bees and wasps. Each colony can hold up to half a million ants. They can all get up and go very quickly if the colony is threatened. Worker ants can live for up to seven years, while a queen can live for up to 15 years. When ants swarm, the young queens fly away and set up their own, new colonies. If you hear people talking about flying ants, this is the swarm they are referring to.
In the commercial environment ants are more than just a nuisance. They can cost you money and harm your reputation. This is particularly true in organisations that handle food or need to keep areas sterile. Premises like pubs, restaurants, hospitals, offices, warehouses and other buildings that store food and water need to make sure they have the highest standards of hygiene. That means being ant-free.
Without adequate ant control in your business you could suffer from the waste of contaminated food and other products which will have to be thrown away, costing you money and resources. Infestations in places like hospitals and care homes can spread pathogens (e.g. Pharoah Ants) and alarm patients or residents and lead them to question your hygiene standards. If your reputation suffers so too will your profits, as customers are put off by the presence of ants.
If you're worried that you might be at risk from an ant infestation you can put in place some simple ant repellant and ant deterrent measures. We will help you keep your home or business free from ants, or make sure your infestation doesn't grow. Most ants only come into your home to look for food.
They are attracted to anything that's sweet and sticky, which is why you find ants in kitchen cupboards or areas where food is kept. With that in mind it's important not to leave temptation in their path. To get rid of ants you must remember to:
- Clear up after food and liquid spillages immediately.
- Sweep up any food crumbs from under your kitchen appliances and units.
- Store your food in airtight containers wherever possible.
- If you have a pet clear away any food that isn't eaten straight away.
- Block off the entry points for ants by sealing all cracks and crevices around your doors and window frames.
- In the garden try to keep your compost enclosed and make sure all rubbish bins have tightly sealed lids.
- Above all, cover any food in storage areas, you don't know where ants have been walking before they march across your food and work surfaces.