Ants – the black ant – (Lasius niger)

Features & habits

These as their name suggests are dark in colour and approximately 4mm long. Their nests are usually outside in the lawns, under stones or especially under paving where it is sandy. They can travel quite long distances to collect food. They can often be problematical in kitchen and bar areas as sweet foods are generally preferred by this pest and that is often the reason that they enter dwellings for this food source. There are however other ants such as ghost ants – tapinoma malenocephalum , Pharoahs ants – monomorium pharaonis and argentine ants – linepithema humile. These ants are usually found inside and can be quite a problem when found, but the most common ant to find is the above mentioned black ant.

How do we control them?

When a customer phones Assured Environmental Services we take their details and try to evaluate the extent of the problem through our conversation. At this point we shall also try to give an example of the possible cost involved.

We arrange an appointment to visit the site and we can then fully assess and advise the problem. After this, with the customers’ agreement we can proceed with the work if they wish which we do so in a safe and effective manner. We try to help by advising on conditions or actions that can be taken to promote a successful outcome of our treatment and help prevent the problem arising again.

When we arrive on site to control ants, these are usually black ants, we carry out a thorough survey of both inside and outside the property. There are now highly efficient ant gels on the market that have transformed the way ant colonies are treated. It can take approximately 2 weeks for an ant gel to work on black ants but the beauty of this is that it gives it time for the whole of the colony to feed upon the gel and therefore is passed throughout the whole of the colony to make it a total and effective treatment.

The gel can remain active for up to 3 months. Our technicians are trained in spotting the signs of ants and discreetly placing the baits safely but at the same time in an ideal place that the ants come in contact with them and feed upon them. Prior to these gels being brought to the market place and still sometimes on some properties we used to use barrier spraying with a carbamade based insecticide and also would dust any nooks and crannies and cavities throughout a property to ensure a total treatment.

Before & after treatment advice

Before treatment note down all the areas that ants have been seen present it, try not to use sprays and aerosols prior to a treatment with ant gel as the idea is that ants collect and take back to the colony the gel we place out for them. The fewer ants there are to do that, the less likelihood of the treatment being effective. Also, look for tiny piles of earth around holes in the lawn or pathways.

In food preparation areas, try to prevent access to sweet sticky substances to minimise the food ants can feed upon. After treatment stay vigilant for any signs of ants still in the area and especially outside where you might notice a new nest close to the building.

Interesting facts about ants

Ants are closely related to wasps. Within an ant community there are workers which are sterile females, fertile males and queens which are fertile females. Worker ants build the nest and look after the larvae. They also forage for food.

Winged ants can be a problem, this is part of the mating process for ants. After mating, male ants die and females shed their wings and return to the soil to overwinter.