Ants

Ants are found all over the world wherever you go, there are many different types of ant approximately 11,500 different species worldwide and 47 of these can be found in the UK. The most common type of ant found in the UK is the black garden ant, the red fire ant or pharoah ant. Ants are highly organised social insects. The worker ants will invade buildings in search of food. Ants are typically from 3 to 5mm in length and are attracted to sweet foods which they take back to their nest. Flying ants are the reproductive males (drones), these will develop wings in late summer and future queens will also develop wings in order to mate. Mating happens in the air and the queen will then seek out a suitable nest site where she stays for the winter, laying eggs the following spring in order to start up a new colony. A single queen ant can live for up to 15 years.   Garden Ants - (also known as Black Ants) - worker ants are 4-5mm in size but the Queen can be as big as 15mm. Queens lay their eggs in the spring in nests that are typically in soil but can be in brickwork or under bark. Garden Ants are attracted to sweet foods and leave a pheromone trail back to their nests for other ants to follow to the food source.   What is the Treatment? First find the nest entrances, Ants nests are usually quite easy to spot outdoors, you’ll see a small mound of soil this is These are indicated by small piles of earth pellets or can be located by watching the ants moving back and forth from nest to food. Whilst a wide range of DIY Products are available to kill Garden Ants, an established problem may need professional treatment to ensure that it will not reoccur. Powders sprays and liquid bait may all be used. Ants are attracted by sweet and sticky substances. Make sure no food is readily available to become a food source. You can do this by making sure all food is kept in sealed containers, cleaning up any food or liquid spillages straight away and if you have pets clear away your Pet’s food immediately it has finished eating.   Pharoah’s Ants & Ghost ants - worker ants are 1.5 -2mm long and the Queen is 4 - 6mm long. Both workers and the Queen are a yellow-brown colour, almost transparent. Pharoah’s Ants originate from the tropics and require artificial heat in order to survive and reproduce and tend to live in large heated buildings such as hospitals, hotels, blocks of flats and restaurants. This ant’s diet is largely of decomposing foodstuffs and it carries harmful germs picked up from when it has been feeding. The pharaoh ant is named out of a belief that it may have been one of the insect plagues of Ancient Egypt.  Ghost Ants are becoming more common in heated buildings. These are a similar size to Pharaoh’s ants and are pale coloured with a dark thorax and head. Control must be left to professional operators.   What is the Treatment? Pharaoh ants have been exterminated by placing baits consisting of ground liver mixed with boric acid, in places where the ants forage. Renewing the baits once or twice may be necessary. It is recommended not to exterminate using sprays and dusts because they will cause the pharaoh ants to scatter. Treatment should be done by a professional pest controller.   Red Fire Ants – workers are 3-6mm long and Queens can be up to 15mm long. They are coppery-brown in colour and each colony can have up to 100,000 or more ants. Fire ants can react very aggressively if aggravated; they can inflict a very painful sting, resulting in an itchy painful spot or pustule. These ants are a major agricultural and urban pest, destroying crops and invading residential areas both outdoors and indoors.   What is the treatment? Red Fire ants are not only annoying but can be very dangerous to humans and pets, and it is recommended treatment by done by a pest control professional. Treatments may include the use of insecticides, powders and baits.