Spring is a wonderful time of light and new life, bringing with it springtime blooms, rising temperatures and… garden ants. The BBC report that ants are the most numerous insect on the planet. It is estimated that the global population of the ant ranges from 10,000 trillion to a quadrillion – which is a million trillion! It’s little wonder then that some may venture into your kitchen in search of food.
Buglife explains the most common type of ant species you are likely to encounter on your kitchen counter are Black ants (Lasius niger), which are also sometimes known as Garden ants. Workers are around 4 to 6mm in length, are wingless and have glossy black bodies, whereas the queen is larger at around 15mm long. However, she will only be seen if the nest is excavated. A fully grown Black ant colony is monogynous, which means it has just one queen. The colony will have between 4,000 to 7,000 female workers on average but can reach 40,000 workers in rare cases! That’s a lot of ants!
Look out for…
- Live ants: unlike other pests, ants do not hide from humans, so if you have an ant infestation, you are likely to see live ants in and/or around your home. National Insect Week explains worker ants are mainly seen foraging on the ground and in houses from around March to October. Even if you only see one ant, you can be sure that he doesn’t live on his own! Single ants tend to be scout ants that go out in search of food. After the scout has found food and fed, it will leave a trail of chemicals as it returns to the nest. Here it will recruit nest-mates, who follow the pheromone trial back to the source of food.
- Ant pathways: you may see many ants following a chemical trial to a food source and/or back to the nest transporting the food. Workers returning with food further reinforce the chemical trial.
- Ant nests: these are harder to spot. They may present as a small pile of dirt or soil. National Insect Week explains they nest mainly in dry soil. Black ants can also nest inside UK homes, such as in wall cracks or other dark, quiet spots which are harder to locate. If Black ants are nesting in a crack in your wall, act quickly as they can increase the width of the cracks which can cause some structure damage to your property.
If you are unsure if you have the beginnings of an ant infestation, or an ant colony nearby, a good test is to leave sugar grains out to see if ants come to gather them. You can then follow the trail of the ant back to the nesting site.
If ants are ruining your warmer weather pleasure, call Avon Pest Control today on 01926 632 929 or 01789 293 463, or click here to request a quotation. Let our expert team quickly and safely control your ant pest problem.