Ants cause problems primarily when they forage for meats, sweets, fats, oils or water in homes and buildings. When searching for food, they can be attracted to a wide range of products depending on the species and current needs. There are approximately 1275 described species in Australia and 15000 worldwide. Ants can accumulate into large numbers quite quickly when food or water is discovered. When food items are found ants will recruit fellow nest mates to help gather the food and return it to the nest.
Ants will build nests in potted plants,walls, under foundations, ceiling voids, just about anywhere. The majority of ants are predators and scavengers, feeding on a wide range of prey including other arthropods and seeds.
If disturbed or food supplies change ants can up and move nest sites. This can make control difficult. They may leave briefly only to return when a new food source has been discovered.
Several species of ants pose serious health threats to people who are sensitive to their stings.
Adult ants feed only on liquid foods. They collect these liquids from their prey or while scavenging. Solid prey, seen carried by workers, is generally intended as food for larvae. Adults which remain in the nest, including the queen, receive much or all of their food directly from returning foragers in a process called trophallaxis. During foraging, workers collect fluids which are stored in the upper part of their digestive system (the crop). Upon returning to the nest, these workers regurgitate a portion of this stored fluid and pass it on to other workers.
It is this process that we take advantage of when controlling ants. The baits and some types of insecticides are carried back to the nests where they enter the food chain, destroying the entire nest……..Hopefully. With larger colonies a second treatment about 2 weeks after the first is recommended.
There are many home remedies available for ant problems. Most do not address the problem at its root and effectiveness is limited and usually short term if at all.
Baits are among the most effective and we use a combination of baits, targeted insecticide application and environmental controls. This three pronged approach is the most effective.