Garden ants usually start appearing in late April. They are black in colour and around 5mm in length. Worker-ants forage widely and often cause a nuisance inside premises. They lay chemical trails, leading other worker ants to a food source. This can result in hundreds of ants wandering through kitchens, larders and cupboards looking for food.
Their nests are usually found outdoors, often under paving, in gardens or lawns and around walls. In late summer the winged adults emerge in very large numbers and swarm, usually causing a nuisance to anyone nearby. This is when mating takes place.
Treatment for Garden Ants
Garden ants require insecticidal treatment to destroy their trails. Commercial preparations are far more effective than shop-bought products. Spraying around the perimeter of buildings and on inner walls will control them.
Pharaoh ants originate from North Africa and Mediterranean regions but are now found around the world. They require warm and humid conditions to survive, which restricts them to internal areas. Ant activity is often found in kitchen and bathroom areas, along heating ducts and in wall cavities. The ants are yellow-brown in colour and very small, usually around 2mm in length.
Up to 300,000 ants can be present in a colony, the majority of which are worker ants, and sterile females which tend to the young ants and forage for food. Pharoah ants and other tropical ants prefer to eat protein-rich foods, such as meat and cheese, as well as fats, sugar and chocolate.
Treatment for Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants and other tropical species, require treatment in a different way from garden ants. Insecticidal treatment only kills the worker-ants, which encourages the Queen to rapidly reproduce. These ants are, therefore, treated using bait stations, which contain a growth development inhibitor. The workers take the bait back to the colony where it is eaten by the workers and the queen. After a certain length of time, reproduction ceases and the colony dies off. Adjoining premises will also need to be treated to completely eradicate these ants.