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Distribution and habitat
The Black ant is commonly found in many parts of the world and throughout Northern and Western Europe. They have a very well-defined social structure. The infertile female worker ants are normally seen away from the nest.
The formation of a new colony starts with a mated winged female digging into the earth to produce a small cell. She lays a large number of white eggs which hatch after 3 to 4 weeks producing white grubs. Subsequently, after about 3 weeks, the larvae will start to pupate within the cell . It usually takes less than 2 weeks for the adult ants to emerge from the pupae.
The first generation of ants are all workers. The workers tend to the Queen and the larvae by bringing food materials to the nest. Specifically, they will bring dead insects, seeds and nectar, as well as the sugary secretions produced by green and black fly. Also, worker ants are also good at housework. They remove excretions and rubbish from the nest. Furthermore, the worker ants are aggressively protective of the queen, larvae, pupae and eggs.
The males and female ants will emerge in large numbers during the afternoons in late summer. As a result, swarming occurs from many nests at the same time. The winged ants flyaway, mating on the wing and they will eventually land due to exhaustion. Subsequently, the male ants usually die and only a proportion of the fertilised females survive to form new colonies. If the colonies are formed in close proximity one of the females will assume dominance and kill the others.
Ants will nest in a whole variety of places including under paving slabs, in the foundation of houses and conservatories and within cavity walls.
Importance of pest control for ants
Black ants like many different food types but are particularly attracted to sweet substances. When a foraging ant finds a food source it communicates the information back to the other workers.
Ants are not dirty insects but they will sometimes walk across unsanitary areas when foraging. They are not known to transmit any serious diseases.
How to control an ant infestation
- We only carry out pest control for ants when they have entered buildings.
- Proofing around pipes, air vents and skirting boards using cement, mesh or sealant.
- A residual insecticide treatment is used for an internal ant infestation.
- Use bendiocarb injections to treat cavity wall nesting sites.
- Gel baiting is also very effective option but this type of treatment will take time.
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