Ants


Ants are a group of insects that includes black ants, red ants, wood ants and ‘flying ants’.

Ants, along with bees and wasps, form the insect group called Hymenoptera. They are recognised by their 3 fairly distinct body parts and often by the absence of wings. The most familiar are the few species that occasionally invade our kitchens and store cupboards in search of suitable food.

The most frequent visitor is the common black ant, Lasius niger, but other non native species are also becoming more widespread within homes. The Pharaohs ants and Argentine ants are examples.

All UK species live in complex colonies. Their annual swarming event, which produces myriads of winged queens and males, usually in August and September, often causes unnecessary concern.
Ants are beneficial in controlling numbers of other invertebrates and they also play a vital role improving and conditioning the soil.




Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)

Biology / Characteristics


Color Red imported fire ant, black imported fire ant, tropical fire ant, and the mature southern fire ant all have painful stings.
Workers Many sizes.
Food facts Eats almost any plant or animal matter. Prefers high-protein foods.

HABITAT

Nesting Usually build mounds outdoors in sunny areas and are very aggressive. Colonies can grow to hundreds of thousands.
Location Throughout southern states.


Carpenter Ant (Componotus Spp.)


BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

Color Many varieties of different colors – tan, red, black.
Workers Many sizes.
Food facts Feeds on insects, insect secretions during the summer. Often invade structures in spring and fall looking for other food sources. Likes sweets.


HABITAT

Nesting Carpenters hollow out dead, moist wood in trees, firewood and fence posts to build nests, but they don’t eat wood. Inside, they build colonies in wall voids, foam insulation, eaves, and crawlspaces. Carpenter ants forage at night during summer months.
Location Throughout the United States.


Pharoah Ant (Monomorium Pharaonis)


BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

Color Yellow with a reddish abdomen.
Workers One size.
Food facts Likes fats and oils.

HABITAT

Nesting Typically builds nests in wood, wall voids, baseboards, etc. Colonies are quite large, with many queens. They prefer warm humid areas near food and water.
Location Throughout the United States, most commonly in southern states. In northern states, species will nest in heated buildings. Common hospital pest.


Black House Ant (Ochetellusv Glaber)


BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

Color Intensely-black
Workers Many sizes (Approximately 2.5 – 3 mm)
Food facts Attracted to sweet foods but also eat honeydew which is excreted from sap-sucking insects, as a result they are known to tent to aphids and bugs on domestic plants. They are omnivorous, feeding on insects and worms, as well as vegetation, such as small seeds.

HABITAT

Nesting Black house ants usually nest under stones or dry logs. The species can commonly be found in gardens. They are often a pest of domestic environments and will build their nest in cracks or gaps, beside pathways. They also generally enter the home in search of food. Like other ant species, they will nest underground and also in voids, for e.g. roof voids or wall cavities.
Locations An Australasian native, they are found in rural and urban areas and are very prevalent in Japan and Australia.


Little Blak Ant


BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

Color Black.
Workers One size, very small, similar to pharaoh ant.
Food facts Likes sweets, fats, oils.

HABITAT

Nesting May build outdoor colonies under rocks, logs, debris, and in landscape mulch.
Locations Throughout the United States, but most often in the East. One of the more common house-infesting ants. They nest in wall voids, under carpets, in woodwork, decaying wood, and masonry. Forages to indoor food sources along baseboards and carpet edges.