Funnel Ants – How to Get Rid of Funnel Ants in your Lawn
If your lawn has heaps of little cone shaped mounds suddenly appearing, they are likely to be funnel ant nests.
What are funnel ants?
Funnel ants (Polygny) are small brown ants, and they grow to a maximum of about 1cm in length.
They get their name from the cone shaped ‘funnels’ they create as entrances to their nests. These funnels can be up to 4cm in diameter and can be up to 30cm deep.
Worker funnel ants don’t need to leave their nests to forage as they have an ingenious way to trap bugs and beetles. Passer-by beetles fall in and get trapped, and as they struggle to escape, funnel ants attack, dismember them, and drag them down into the nests to feed larvae.
Where are funnel ants most likely to appear?
Funnel ant mounds can be found all over Australia in both urban and rural areas. They are likely to make an appearance after rain. Funnel ants in Brisbane are particularly a problem because of our sub-tropical climate and high rainfall.
They are likely to appear in blady grass, such as backyard lawns, but also on sporting grounds, acreage, or school sports fields. However, they can also be found in forests and woodlands.
Why are funnel ants considered a pest?
There are several reasons why funnel ants in your lawn are considered a pest.
- They can cause structural damage to your property. They have been known to make complex mazes of tunnels which can be so extensive that the soil structure can be weakened and could collapse.
- The little mud mounds are unsightly and make a mess of your lawn. The mud mounds, if severe, can also lessen the amount of sun that your lawn receives, which in turn affects the quality of your grass. Funnel ants also eat through the grass roots as they build their colonies which means that patches of dead grass might start appearing.
- They can make lawn maintenance difficult as the surface becomes uneven. Severe cases can also damage mower blades.
- They are only aggressive when their nests are attacked, but they can give a nasty sting.
- Because they live mostly underground, they are persistent and hard to treat.
- One of the most unusual characteristics of funnel ants that very few other types of ants have is that they can have multiple colonies living in harmony, so there could be many queens living close together. This characteristic makes them harder to treat than other ant varieties.
Can I DIY treat funnel Ants?
Funnel ants live mostly underground. DIY ant treatments purchased at a hardware store kill the surface ants on contact, but they don’t kill the ants beneath the surface, which means after a few days more ants and more ant mounds reappear.
For a treatment to be effective, it must be injected down every single funnel and target the source, that is the entire colony.
There are common DIY treatments which will kill surface ants, but most will have to be applied multiple times, and won’t be effective at reaching the colony. Most of these common DIY treatments will also either kill or adversely affect the quality of your lawn. Pouring boiling water into the nest will scald your grass and turn it brown; dishwashing liquid will bleach your grass; and too much boric acid will definitely kill the grass.
The chances of re-contamination from your neighbour’s property are also very high. If you are experiencing an infestation, it is likely that your neighbours will be too. DIY treatments will not protect your property from re-infestation.
So, you will need to prepare for an ongoing ant battle if you choose to go down the DIY path.
Professional pest control is the best approach to get rid of funnel ants from your lawn
A professional pest control service is the best approach for a funnel ant solution. A professional technician will, using a commercial grade pump, thoroughly spray every inch of the affected area using a chemical which binds to the soil. This means that it is effective in reaching and killing the colony. Additionally, the chemical won’t kill your lawn and is safe for humans and pets.
A professional funnel ant treatment is long-lasting (often up to 6 - 12 months or more), which means it will also minimise re-contamination from neighbours.
Suburban Pest Management’s funnel ant treatment prices can vary depending on the size of the area to treat.
For a standard size suburban property, give us a call and we will provide you with a targeted solution over the phone. For larger properties, we may need to come out and assess the property before we can give you a price, although we are currently offering a Free Pest Assessment for those who would like to know more.
For effective funnel ant control, please give Suburban a call and get a quote today.