Let’s face it, we have a love-hate relationship with ants. We can admire them for their ability to quickly and efficiently adapt to change, which makes them excellent problem solvers. However, we may not be fond of them when we find them in our kitchens, power points or kids play areas.
Furthermore, ants can be destructive in agriculture by destroying crop seed beds and protecting aphids around crops. We use many means to get rid of ants from our houses and nearby areas, but we will tolerate them when they stick to the parts that aren’t close to where we sleep. In fact, ant pest control in Cairns is huge. Those tiny little sugar ants really do make a nuisance of themselves around the home if left untreated.
ANTS ARE SOCIAL INSECTS
Ants, along with bees and wasps, are under the Order Hymenoptera (Superfamily Formicoidea, Family Formicidae). Well known for their social behaviours, examples of communication are odour in bumble bees and pheromenes in ants when marking trails.
While ants are known for their bites (some much more than others), they have a positive impact on our immediate environment. They assist in aerating the soil with their tunneling habits, and help in the decomposition of dead animals and insects.
There are thousands of kinds of ants worldwide. There are about 1500 types found all around Australia, predominantly in rainforests and bushland.
LIFE CYCLE OF ANTS
Ants are generally quite small, ranging from 1-30mm. They have a thorax, abdomen and a large metapleural gland on either side of their metathorax. Ants are usually coloured black, brown, yellow or red, however it is not uncommon to see ants with a combination of these colours. Also, ants have obvious antennae and strong mandibles.
Ant eggs are laid by the queen and hatch into white larvae. You may have seen these eggs, larvae and pupae being carried by ants during a colony migration. Ants will move their nests in search of richer food sources or if their current location is under threat. From an egg, a tiny, legless, eyeless larva develops. Metamorphosis in to a pupae then occurs and the ant begins to actually look like an ant, however its wings and antennae remain pressed against its body. From there the adult emerges, the entire process taking up to 30 days to occur.
The lifespan of a male ant is generally a few weeks and they die after mating. And while worker ants may live for months, it’s the queen who will outlive them all with a whopping life expectancy of well over ten years.
WHY YOU THINK ANTS MAY BE PESTS
While ant species are generally not considered to be invasive pests, a few species will show up in the home and cause concern. Much of that concern, however is confused with current or previous termite activitiy in that area.
For example, ants may nest in timber that is naturally decaying or has been eaten by termites. Naturally, they are then seen as the likely culprit. It’s interesting to note that most foraging worker ants enter the home from external nests and do not actually live within the home. Having said that, it is also common to for ants to nest in the following places in the conditions are right:
- wall cavities
- around taps, baths and kitchens where there is dampness behind the wall
- skirting boards
- roof void spaces
Basically, ants are like cockroaches and can be found in similar places. Interestingly, their pest control measures are pretty much the same.
Effective pest control measures are dependant upon a few things. Your Cairns pest control specialist will determine the site location, what type of ant it is and how large the nest is.
Ants are typically a nuisance if they invade your home or workplace. They are accepted, though, when they restrict their activities to the outdoors.
Treating for ants was difficult before they invented gel/liquid food baits, but nowadays it’s as easy following the instructions on the packaging.
Ants are usefull in the garden as they remove dead animals and insects and keep the soil around your garden aerated.
For expert advice on pest control in Cairns and the surrounding region, call Peter from Eco Pest Management for help with your Cairns pest control measures.