More than 8800 species are known to man. They have largely differing habits in the way that they construct their nests, form their colonies and the way in which they obtain their nutrition.
Most are beneficial, scavenging on waste and insects. However some are regarded as pests. These include the Pharaoh's Ant (monomorium pharaonis)once they are introduced into houses and hospitals in search of proteins and fats, and the black Garden Ant, or common Black Ant (Lasius niger) that prefers sweet foodstuffs and lives in grass, walls and under stones and paving.
Both species' workers are a particular nuisance when foraging frantically for food and water along scent-
marked trails. They feed on most foodstuffs, Pharaoh's Ants, preferring proteinaceous foods like meat, cheese and fats, the garden ant favouring sweet stuffs.
They commonly chew on materials and packaging and can even bite children. Clearly they pose a serious threat to health as vectors of pathogenic organisms.Pharaohs ants also infest hospitals, feeding on blood, intravenous liquids, bodily excretions and sterile or soiled dressings.
Garden ants mass round sweet foods in the home but are a nuisance outside too. They excavate the soil, making it dry while simultaneously helping to cultivate greenfly to feed on the sweet secretions they produce.
All ants have the three main divisions of the body; head, thorax and abdomen. These body parts are joined by very narrow waists. All ants have antennae that feature an elbow-like joint.
Pharaoh's ants have biting mouthparts and a set of fore wings hooked to a pair of hind wings, although wings may not be present in all cases. Workers are 1.5-2mm long and yellow/brown in colour. Males are 3mm long, black, winged but do not fly. Queens are 3.5-5mm long, dark red with non-flying wings that are discarded after mating.
The garden ant workers are 4-5mm long and despite its name, is dark brown in colour whilst the queen is typically 15mm long and mid brown in colour.
Control Pharaoh's Ants
The control of pharaoh's ants is difficult due to their highly developed social structure and the inaccessibility of their nests. The most effective control involves the use of an insect growth regulator or insecticidal bait so that the whole infestation is affected within a short time.
Control of Black Ants
Control can only be achieved by the destruction of their nests. A thorough understanding of the ant species its biology, lifestyle and habits is required to achieve effective control.
AG Pest Management staff have many years experience within the pest control industry, contact us on 01226 288844 and let our staff eradicate your pest infestation.