How to Get Rid Of Ants
How to get rid of ants when you see ants in the house or commercial premises:
- Inspect and locate where the nest might be and the area which most of the infestation originates.
- Identify which type of ant it is and apply the appropriate control measure.
- Treat the nest and or surfaces where ants are active with a spray or dust.
- Baits can be used where appropriate or if insecticides cannot be used.
- Eliminate food particles by vacuuming and use other methods of hygiene both inside and outside the house.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS TO GET RID OF ANTS
Ants are a social insect which live in nests. They have several ‘castes’ with specific duties for the survival of the colony. They are often confused with termites (white ants) however the two groups have very little in common apart from their size and social behaviour.
Ants feed on a wide range of foods from those found around the home to the sugary excretions from plant bugs. They are the most frequently encountered insects in and around the average home.
Ants are considered as a nuisance pest as they make their way from outside in the garden into the home to the food handling facilities. Depending on the ant species they make their nests under paths, in pot plants, wall cavities, subfloor areas and in roof cavities. Ants can also carry disease as certain speices are attracted to dog faecal droppings, and to other waste products containing bacteria such as Salmonella.
FEATURES & LIFE CYCLE
Most ants have three body segments ( the head, thorax and abdomen) ‘elbowed’ antennae and a construction of body segments between the thorax and the abdomen. If wings are present, forewings are larger than hind wings.
The four stages in the life cycle of an ant are: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The larvae which hatch from eggs are fed by the adults, the pupa is a resting stage before transforming into an adult. An ant colony consists of a queen, a king and workers. The king soon dies after he has fertilised a queen. The workers which are sterile females are the most abundant caste and their duties consist of defence, food collection, feeding the other castes and nest construction. Some workers with larger heads are known as ‘soldiers’.
The queen produces eggs that will develop into the various castes. Swarms of winged mature male and female ants annually leave to establish new colonies, known as ‘budding off’.
The worker ants seek out food supplies and when located the information is communicated back to the rest of the colony. This is done in several ways, including trail marking by pheromone secretions and taste. Ants are also predatory, preying on other insects, particularly termites in the case of some ant species.
Some people may think they have been bitten by an ant, but this is not technically correct. Ants do not bite however the ones which cause pain usually do so with a sting.
TYPICAL PEST ANT SPECIES
There are many species of ants and because of their differing food preferences, identification is important to determine the control procedure. Especially when baiting is used, an attractive food is needed with the poison.
BLACK HOUSE ANT
The black house and a few related species, are shining black and 2-3mm long. Nests are normally in the ground, under bark or in decaying timber. Trails, which are well defined, may extend over long distances and go up into shrubs and trees, where the ants feed on honeydew from sap-sucking insects. They can nest in roof or wall spaces. The group includes species which track across ceilings, beams and joists and drop ant debris onto surfaces below. Black house ants eat sweet foods. As a result these ants are often encountered in kitchen cupboards, bench tops, window sills, etc.
These are brown in colour and about 1.5-3mm long. They have no odour when crushed. Their nests are mostly found outside although can be found indoors during wet weather. They prefer sweet food.
COASTAL BROWN ANT
These are light brown in colour and about 2-3mm long. They are often found in walls of houses and behind skirting. They prefer meat and fats rather than sweet foods.
These are light brown in colour and about 2-3mm long. They do not have an odour when crushed. They nest in walls, ceilings and subfloor areas. They eat a wide range of foods including meat, vegetables and sweets.
These are light brown and about 2-3mm long. They nest in walls, under cupboards and in subfloor areas. They prefer foods of animal origin, but have been known to feed on sweet materials.
WHITEFOOTED HOUSE ANT
These are black in colour and about 2.5-3mm long with pale feet. They nest in cavity walls, rockeries and behind kitchen cupboards.
These ants range in colour from brown to pale brown and range in size from 7-12mm. They mostly nest in decayed wood and eat dead or alive insects as well as sweet food.
These are black in colour with metallic green heads. They are about 5-6mm long. They have a distinctive smell and a painful sting. They nest under paths and feed on vegetable materials.
Meat ants are red and black in colour and range in size from 13-14mm. Their nests are low moulds of soil with gravel on the surface. They mainly eat animal products and sometimes sweet. These ants are not known to sting.
These are either black or red in colour and range from 12-15mm in length. Their low mound nests are found mainly in bush areas. All bull ants can sting.nts are a social insect which live in nests. They have several ‘castes’ with specific duties for the survival of the colony. They are often confused with termites (white ants) however the two groups have very little in common apart from their size and social behaviour.
CONTROL METHODS TO GET RID OF ANTS
Insecticidal sprays may be applied directly to the nest (if known) or to the areas where the ants gain access to the house. When the nest is located the elimination of the colony is usually achieved.
Temporary control can be achieved by the use of insecticidal dust. Dusts may also be used as a special application in enclosed spaces such as roof cavities.
Ant baits can be successful where the insecticides have not worked or when the nest cannot be located. The bait is collected at a feeding site, taken back to the colony by the workers, and fed to others including the queen and developing larvae. This usually ends in the elimination of the whole colony. The bait must be of a certain formula which is attractive to the particular species. Baiting procedures are usually supplied on the product label. Granular baits are being used more in homes because of their ability to eliminate entire colonies.