There are 41 different species of ant living in the UK. The one that causes most problems for people is the garden or black ant (Lasius Niger), which is 3.5 to 5mm long and dark brown to black in colour.
Black Ants are commonly found throughout the UK, and although they nest outdoors, they are often found inside houses, causing a nuisance more than anything. They are social creatures, and live in Ant colonies containing workers (infertile females), males, queens and grubs (larvae). Ants mate on the wing, so the "flying ants" are either males or immature queens.
Where do they come from?
You will find ants nests in dry earth around plant roots, with sandy soil in particular attracting colonies. The sand used in house foundations, garden paths and patios forms a good site for the queen ant to start a colony. Ant nests are increasingly being found inside the walls of properties (cavity walls, for example). Once a colony develops it can be difficult to get rid of Ants.
Why do ants come indoors?
Ants found indoors are usually are worker ants, which are foraging for food for the queen and the grubs. They have found that buildings inhabited by humans are a good source of provision, particularly sweet or sugary items
Do black ants just live on human food?
No, the worker ants are scavengers and collect seeds, nectar, even dead insects to take back to the nest. They also prey on greenfly, blackfly and other small insects, so cannot be considered to be all bad.
Do black ants do any harm?
Although it is unpleasant and a nuisance to find a large number of them in your home, black ants do not transmit any serious diseases.
However, you should remember as well that the ants may have travelled through unpleasant or dirty places during their foraging and before entering your home. This means that they can taint any food, making it unsuitable to eat.
Do not leave food uncovered if accessible to ants, but if they have contaminated food, dispose of in the dustbin (wrapped first to prevent it smelling in the warmer weather).
How do I get rid of Ants?
The cheapest, but not necessarily most successful, way of dealing with an ants' nest is to pour boiling water onto the nest. This will certainly control the problem, but may only be a temporary solution.
Another way of eliminating ants' nests is to buy a household insecticide which you should apply on and around the nest, together with possible entry points for the ants. Entry points would include doors, windows, cracks in walls, even waste pipes. Remember, for your own safety, to follow the manufacturers' instructions on the pack. This again may only be a short term answer, firstly because of the low dosages allowed in domestic insecticides. Secondly, there can be so many ants in one nest that it is difficult to eradicate the whole colony in one go, so the problem may recur.
Both the methods described above are worth a try, but if you still find you have an ant infestation, contact Birmingham Pest Control Service for more information on our ant treatment service.
Birmingham Pest Control Service covers Birmingham, West Midlands and Sutton Coldfield.
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Contact us on: 0121 450 97840121 450 9784 or for information on our pest control service.