Ants

ANTS

What are they?
There are 41 different species of ant living in the UK. Only two of these – the Black ant and the Pharaoh ant typically constitute a pest problem. The one that causes most problems for people is the garden or Black ant, which are 3.5 to 5mm long and dark brown to black in colour. The Pharaoh ant is yellow-brown in colour, and only 1.5mm – 2mm in length.

Black ants usually nest outdoors in lawns, flower beds under paving stones, and in walls. Although they are not a health hazard, they can be a nuisance as they can find their way into homes in large numbers. They enter homes in search of sweet foods, getting in through small gaps in masonry, doors and windows.

How do they live?
The queen ant lays eggs in late spring which hatch into larvae after 3-4 weeks. She rears the larvae for three weeks after which they pupate. From the pupae emerge the first brood of worker ants which forage for food and tend subsequent broods. Winged male and female ants emerge between July and August and mating takes place on the wing during this time, after which the males die. The mated females shed their wings and dig a cell in the soil where they stay until the following Spring.

Why do ants come indoors?
The ants found indoors are usually worker ants, which are foraging for food for the queen and the grubs. They have found that buildings inhabited by humans are a good source of provision, particularly sweet or sugary items. Ants are found where food is available. They will eat almost anything and can easily get in to unopened packages. Ants trail each other and are attracted to greasy or fatty foods, meats, sugary foods, and other dead insects. Because of their eating habits, they can contaminate food by wandering over it.

Pest Prevention
Professional control is recommended, using baits and poisons. To help prevent problems in the future I will also advise on hygiene and proofing.

 

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