More than 8000 species are known to man. They have largely defined habits in the way they construct their nests, form their colonies and the way in which they feed.
Most are beneficial scavenging on insect and waste debris. Sometimes, however, they can become a nuisance in buildings when foraging frantically for food and water along scent marked trails.
The most common types are:
- Common Black Ant (or Black Garden Ant)
- Pharaohs Ant
In Clackmannanshire the Pest Control Officer deals with more than 500 cases of ant infestation a year.
After mating, the males die and the females lose their wings and dig a hole in the soil over winter. Late Spring sees the first eggs being laid with white larvae hatching some three to four weeks later. These are fed on secretions from the queens salivary glands until around three weeks later they pupate. These working ants emerge as adults in less than two weeks.
Usually a colony contains just one female. Females in adjoining colonies will fight till death for control of the nest.
The workers run the nest, tending the queen and new larvae. They forage for food, extend the nest and clean out excreta.
Ants are a nuisance, not a health risk. Ants can be vacuumed up, or in the case of flying ants simply be allowed to fly away through open windows.
If you are able to, try using household insecticide sprays available from DIY stores or supermarkets. Read and follow the instructions for use and safety precautions on the label carefully.
Ideally insecticide should be applied directly to the nest, however, this is sometimes difficult to find. Insecticide should therefore be applied at entry points to the house such as doors, steps, windows, vents, ducts and drains. Particular attention should be given to cracks and crevices. In this way the ants will carry the insecticide into the nest and eradication follows soon after.
Taking action yourself will be a big help as ants usually occur in the warmer months when the Pest Control Officer is very busy, and rodents, wasps and bees must be given priority.
If all else fails, however, control can be achieved by the Pest Control Officer spraying insecticidal dust or liquid at entry points, or the nest if you have found it.
The treatment is carried out using an approved insecticide. Further information on the insecticide is available on request.
The use of insecticide is carefully controlled by the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.
The Pest Control Officer is fully trained and all necessary measures are taken to comply with the Health and Safety at Work, Etc. Act 1974 and Regulations thereunder.
Instructions will be given at the time of application in relation to safety of the householder and pets.
In some cases more than one application is necessary to ensure control.
A charge may be made for your pest control treatment
NB: The information on this page is primarily for the residents of Clackmannanshire. For enquiries out with Clackmannanshire Council's area you are recommended to contact your local Environmental Health Department or a private pest control contractor.