Spring Ant-ics; Early Black Garden Ant Activity
The black garden ant, also known as the common black ant or Lasius niger, is one of the most common and widespread ant species in the UK. They are often found in gardens and other outdoor areas. Unfortunately, they also tend to make their way into residential and business properties.
What Do They Look Like?
Black garden ants are small, typically about 3-5mm in length, and are very dark brown in colour, appearing to be black. They have narrow waists, and an elbow joint in their antennae.
Where Do Black Ants Live?
Black garden ants are social insects and live in colonies, with a clear hierarchy in which the females do most of the work and the males mate with the queens. Colonies can become very large, up to 15,000 workers! They typically nest in soil, lawns, under stones and at the base of walls.
When Do Black Garden Ants Become Active?
Black garden ants are usually dormant during the winter. Worker ants can be seen in gardens and houses from March to October.
What Do Black Garden Ants Feed On?
Black garden ants, are omnivorous, meaning that they eat a wide variety of foods. In their natural habitat, they forage for a variety of plant and animal matter, including nectar, honeydew, insects, and small invertebrates. They are also known to feed on small seeds and other plant material. In domestic and business settings, black garden ants are attracted to sweet foods and liquids, such as fruit juice or sugary beverages, which they take back to their colony to feed the queen and larvae. They may also feed on crumbs or other small food scraps that are left out in the open.
How Can I Stop Ants From Entering My Home?
- Keep your home clean: Ants are attracted to food and moisture, so it is important to keep your home clean and free of crumbs and spills. Regularly sweep and mop floors, and wipe down countertops and other surfaces to remove any food residue.
- Store food in sealed containers: Ants can easily access food that is left out in the open, so it is important to store all food in airtight jars or containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal entry points: Ants can enter your home through small cracks or openings, so it is important to seal any gaps or openings that may provide them with access. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal gaps around windows and doors, and use mesh screens to cover vents and other openings.
- Remove outdoor sources of food: If ants are attracted to food sources outside your home, such as bird feeders or bins, remove or relocate these sources to a location that is farther away from your home.
Worker ants leave trail pheromones for other ants in the colony to follow when they discover a new food source, therefore it is advisable to act quickly if you discover ant activity in your home.