There are more than 8,000 species of ants known to man. Although most nest outside, they often venture indoors on their endless search for food. Many people are unaware of the potential danger of disease transmission that is associated with ants. This is particularly alarming considering ants are most often found in food storage and food preparation areas.
Ants’ nests are commonly found in the following outdoor areas:
- In exposed soil
- Under the cover of logs
- In plant cavities
- In decayed or moist wood
- Around paths or rockeries
- Behind or in retaining walls
- In crevices in brickwork
- Garbage bins
- Planters, pots and garden beds
- Paved areas
Major problem areas:
Ants build mounds of soil when making their nests that can smother and kill grass plants
Ant tunnels may cause underground roots to dry out, killing the grass and destroying the lawn
When ants infest paved areas, they remove the sand between pavers, making the area unstable and unsightly.
Ants defend insects that damage plants, such as aphids, scales and mealybugs from attack by their natural enemies and then carry the insects to un-infested plants.
Ants are commonly found in the following indoor areas:
- Behind skirtings and architraves
- In wall voids
- Beneath floors
- Around foundations
- Under stoves or cupboards
When ants find food, they leave an invisible chemical trail, called ‘pherenome’, so that other ants can find their way from the nest to the food source. These ‘trails’ of ants are very persistent even in extended periods of wet weather. Ants can feed on almost anything consumed by humans. Simply killing the ants you see still leaves this scent trail for the others in the nest to follow.
Black ants are seek shelter and move their eggs and colonies inside homes to escape the rain and take up residence at the home owners expense.
Black Ant Characteristics
Most ants that are found in homes nest outdoors and enter homes only to search for food or water or some where to live. Almost all ants are workers, wingless females that search for food and maintain the colony.
A small proportion of an ant colony are winged reproductive forms. These emerge periodically in swarms and fly away on mating flights.
Health issues and problems
Ant infestations can be a health risk. Ants can carry disease organisms on their body. Ants are capable of spreading dysentery, smallpox and bacteria like salmonella. This is a health threat – knowing where ants scavenge for food.
Black ants not only cause a nuisance but pack a nasty bite if disturbed. They are not known to cause serious health issues, but if you or a member of your family are bitten, follow these basic
First Aid steps:
- Wash with soap and water and apply an antiseptic if available
- Ensure that the patient’s tetanus vaccination is up to date
- Apply an ice-pack to reduce local pain and swelling
- Pain relief may be required eg. paracetamol or an antihistamine (to reduce swelling, redness and itch)
The patient should seek medical advice if they develop any other symptoms or signs of infection.
For any patient who shows signs of anaphylaxis, call 000 for an ambulance, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
The most effective way to control ant infestations is to use both chemical and non-chemical techniques. Apply simple measures that can reduce the attraction ants have to your home or business. One such product is Solfac Duo. This is an ourdourless agent for use in the management of ants, cockroaches, spiders, fleas and bedbugs.
You can help reduce black ant colonies at your home by following these simple tips:
- Remove sources of food and water from the outside area such as pet food and water bowls – clean and change these regularly.
- Seal gaps in window frames and door frames.
- Follow good hygiene practices in the kitchen – keep benches clean and remove garbage regularly.
This will reduce visitation of ants and help baits work more effectively.
Contact our friendly staff if you have more questions about products to help keep ant infestations under control.