“Did you know that on average, an ant can carry between 10 and 50 times its own body weight, and run at approximately 300 metres an hour!!”
You might be surprised to know that there are approximately 1400 species of Ants known in Australia. Ants are amazing creatures who are social insects that live in large colonies. In their natural environment, they play an important role as predators & scavengers and assist in the recycling of nutrients in the soil. However, in our world Ants are often regarded as ‘nuisance’ pests in and around buildings. Small mounds resulting from their excavations may be considered unsightly along garden paths, on balconies and around skirting boards and architrave bases in your home. As well as general ‘nuisance’ aspects, ants may present a health risk. Instances are known of ants mechanically carrying, on their bodies, or in the digestive tract, disease organisms causing dysentery, small pox and a variety of pathogenic bacteria, including salmonella.
According to a Brisbane Times Article (published 8 August 2015), QLD has been crowned the territory with the most native species of ants in the world. Even beating out areas such as South America, New Guinea & Central Africa, which I’m sure is quite surprising to some!
Effective control of ants often relies on a knowledge of their nesting habits. At the broad level, a knowledge of the nesting habits and feeding habits can be most helpful. More specifically, where a given infestation is being treated, a thorough survey and inspection should be carried out. By following trails – particularly, where possible, those of workers loaded with food – the location of the nest, either approximately or precisely may be determined. Direct treatment of the nest/s, where possible, can provide the most effective, long term control. The use of chemical barriers that interfere between the nest/s and possible food sources add to effective control.
Ants continue to be one of the most problematic pests that we experience each year. Recent years has seen the introduction of many ant control products including gel baits, new & improved insecticides as well as granular products which target specific species depending on their preferred meal source (sweet feeding, protein feeding or lipid feeding). It is an exciting time for not just pest managers but also as consumers knowing that we have the absolute best products available to us to ensure your needs are met and maintained when it comes to controlling these pesky insects.
Some of the most common ant species we encounter the most:
Black House Ant
- Shiny, black
- 2mm-3mm long
- Larvae hatches out of an egg as a grub
- After some time (can be up to six weeks), the larvae will then pupate (usually become a cream or white colour) and looks like an adult
- The adult emerges with it’s defined body sections – head, thorax & abdomen
- These ants are usually found in kitchens, garbage and also dog faeces scavenging, potentially collecting diseases on their travels
- They are a ‘sweet feeder’ attracted to sweet food sources
Coastal Brown Ant
- Yellow Brown to Brown in colour
- 5mm-2.5mm long
- Small eggs are laid
- Larvae hatch
- After several moults the larvae pupates into three different castes:
- Workers (nest builders, supply the food to the colony, feed larvae and defend the nest/colony)
- Females are the largest in size and will lose their wings after mating. The females will become the Queen (to reproduce) and live for years
- Males exist only to mate with the female ant
- Nest in soil and will excavate along pathways, gardens and walls
- Attracted to foods including meats, fruit, sweet items and greasy food