Six Types of Ants You'll Find Around Your Home.
Updated: Mar 11
Ants invading our homes can drive anyone mad with the constant spraying, stomping and sweeping of their trails.
What starts as a few tiny ants around your kitchen sink can soon lead to thousands crawling through your pantry and kitchen and bathroom cupboards in search of food and moisture.
Often, when we are conducting pest treatments we find multiple species of ants within a property. Proper identification is key to providing an effective treatment.
When choosing a pest control company to eradicate your ant problem, their pest control experience, knowledge of the local area and it's seasonal pests should always be your deciding factor.
In almost all cases, All Things Pest Control backs it's ant pest control services with a 12 month guarantee. Meaning your initial ant treatment cost covers any further treatments within a 12 month period.
Some ant colonies are supported by a single queen and others are polygynous species. These polygynous types, such as the Pharaoh Ants and Argentine Ants are supported by many queens.
As they rapidly construct new nests, this means a house could have multiple nests within wall cavities from a nest originating in the neighbours yard all within a short amount of time.
How many of these six ants can you identify around your home?
1. Coastal Brown Ant (Pheidole megacephala)
Also known as the 'big headed ant' the Coastal Brown is considered the most invasive ant species to Australia having been nominated as one of the hundred ‘World's Worst’ invaders.
The coastal brown ant can be found nesting in disturbed soils, lawns, garden beds, under objects, such as bricks, cement slabs, or pots, around trees or water pipes, along the base of structures into internal house walls, and around walkways.
Coastal brown ant populations expand rapidly through the construction of many nests. Population movements into new areas to establish nests cause displacement of other native ant populations rapidly.
The coastal brown ant does not sting or cause any structural damage, and usually does not bite unless the nest is disturbed, and even then, the bite is not painful.
This ant is sometimes confused with subterranean termites as they create debris-covered foraging tubes that are somewhat similar, albeit much more fragile, than termite tubes.
Coastal Brown Ants leave piles of loose sandy soil.
Homeowners are often annoyed by these ‘dirt piles’ and by ants foraging in bathrooms, kitchens, around doors, and windows, as well as on exterior paved or brick walkways or driveways.
Their attraction to food means they are commonly found in pantry and cupboards.
2. Black Ant (lasius niger)
The Black Ant is one of the most common ant species across the world and is also known as "the common garden ant".
They inflict no sting, but can bite, range from a dark brown to black colour and grow up to 15mm.
Much like the Coastal brown ant, the Black Ant thrives in gardens.
Nest are often located outdoors in soil and below paved areas or concrete slabs in sunny areas.
They follow well defined trails around food sources.
The Black ant is a problem for some gardeners. They will farm aphids and scale for the honeydew they excrete, bringing them from host plant to host plant spreading these other garden pests to new healthy plants.
The ants will also eat ripe fruits, especially fruits like strawberries that have only a thin protective skin.
Black ants often explore their surroundings quite extensively during early summer months in an effort to increase the food supply to their queen and her young.
It is also a way of testing new ground in preparation for the nests' summer flight.
In some cases, these explorations lead to a burrowing through mortar and brick and inside the wall cavities of a home.
3. Whitefooted Ant (Technomyrmex difficillis)
The Whitefooted house ant is major widespread pest ant species.
At around 3mm long, these ants are incredibly invasive and can be hard to eradicate - often requiring several treatments to eradicate fully and then treatments every 3 months to prevent satellite nests from neighbouring yards from taking hold.
Commonly found nesting in trees or tree trunks that were once inhabited by termites, under plant debris, near the home in roofs, wall voids, along fences or within outdoor furniture.
Whitefoot Ants tend to spread out in satellite colonies which nest in many different locations - hence why treatment can be difficult
Indoors, they can be found in the kitchen area near bins or where food is stored and prepared. They are predominately out at night in humid weather and are attracted to sweet substances such as plant nectar, flowers, sweet human food and aphids which secret honeydew.
4. Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)
Light to dark brown in colour, Argentine Ants bite instead of sting and they drive out other ants in the area significantly impacting native ant species.
Workers are produced in September and increase in numbers up until March.
They follow food trails for incredibly long distances so their nests are often hard to find and treat directly.
Unable to dig deep nests, these ants will nest on the ground, in cracks in concrete walls, in spaces between boards and timbers, even among belongings in houses. In natural areas, they nest shallowly in loose leaf litter or beneath small stones.
Rapid colonies are constructed and super colonies form around neighborhoods meaning regular treatment is required for total eradication.
Often found entering houses in search of food and water in hot weather, or escaping their shallow flooded nests to higher ground throughout the wet season.
Argentine Ants cause significant amount of damage to farmers crops by tending to Aphid colonies and their protection of this plant pest from predators and parasitoids can cause problems in agricultural areas. In return for this protection, the ants benefit by feeding off an excretion known as honeydew. Thus, when Argentine ants invade an agricultural area, the population densities of these plant parasites increase and so does the damage they cause to crops.
5. Ordorous Ant (Tapinoma sessile)
Producing a coconut smell when crushed, the Odorous Ant is often nicknamed the 'stink ant'. These ants can live for several years and their colonies range from 100 - 10,000 ants.
Attracted to moisture in hot environments, nests can be found inside house plants, around hot water systems, wall cavities around hot water pipes and even the lids of toilets. These ants most commonly invade buildings in late winter and early spring (particularly after rain).
Home infestations range from a few hundred to tens of thousands.
The Odorous Ant is tough.
They have been known to survive without food and water for several months.
They can difficult to remove from a home after their colony has become well-established and more often than most will require a follow up treatment within several months to ensure complete eradication.
6. Pharaoh's Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)
Pharaoh ants are a tropical species, but they thrive in buildings almost anywhere. They feed indoors predominantly on high protein foods such as meat, fats, blood and dead insects.
Colonies range from a few dozen to 300,000. Multiple colonies are often formed through nests that have been disturbed, for example, as a result of insecticide spray treatments. It's important to stay on top of your yearly pest control to ensure total eradication remains. Nests are located in wall cavities and areas where heat and humidity are present.
When treating an ant infestation, proper identification is key for a establishing an effective treatment.
All Things Pest Control ant treatments use repellent and non-repellent insecticides, indoor and outdoor baiting, direct spot treatments as well as a perimeter application to ensure ants trailing from adjacent properties and structures are controlled.
These treatments are applied carefully in targeted locations to achieve maximum eradication of pest ants and minimal disturbance to native and non native pollinators such as butterflies, wasps and bees.
Once a treatment has taken place, it's normal to see an increase in Ant activity for several weeks.
The treatment can take several weeks, sometimes a month or more, for total ant eradication. Avoid spraying ant trails with over the counter sprays, as this prevents ant's carrying residual chemical back to their nests and slows the treatment further.
Sometimes a second treatment is required if a property has gone a long time without pest control or has a severe ant infestation that is trapped within wall cavities.
Don't let those pantry bandits disrupt your home anymore! Contact All Things Pest Control in Mackay today to book your Ant treatment!