How Can I Get Rid of Ants?
Have you experienced an infestation of ants before? It seems as though no matter how well you clean up, there always seems to be something to feed the never-ending hordes of ants. Just when you may think you’re on top of your ant problem, a single stray crumb from your sandwich seems to attract a whole new cohort of them. It’s unsurprising as in every colony there can be up to 500,000 ants. That’s up to 500,000 insidious little bugs hiding in the nooks and crannies of your home. That’s 3,000,000 ant feet marching in a scary sugar militia.
With numbers like these, sometimes you need expert know-how to help eliminate your ant problem. The sheer number of ants in a colony, combined with their tiny bodies, makes an ant infestation very hard to deal with on your own. Not to mention their complex social structure – if you don’t kill all the ants in a nest, especially the queen, they will keep reproducing and raiding your kitchen floor for scraps.
Some invasive ant species such as Argentine and Big-headed ants will even have multi-queen structures within the same colony to give themselves a greater chance of survival, so you may have more than one ant regicide on your hands before the task is complete. While many anti-ant products such as sprays and repellants claim to be able to rid your home of ants, they’ll likely only kill a few at best.
Why do I have ants?
Well for one thing, ants are absolutely everywhere in Australia! They might feed on the cupcakes at an inner-city picnic, burrowing in the sands of the outback desert, or eating honeydew that soft scales, mealybags, and aphids produce in a garden.
Ants may be attracted to a food source in your home such as sugar, syrup, honey, fruit juice, fats, and meat. Once they figure out where these food sources are, colonies can form long trails of thousands of ants to link nests to these food sources.
Do I have ants or termites?
Many people are unsure if they have a termite or ant infestation on their hands. It’s an important distinction to make as termites can damage the sound timber foundations of your home while ants only nest in wood that is already rotten. Ants have a segmented, hourglass waist shape while termites do not. You can also tell by the shape of their antennae; ant antennae are bent while termite antennae are straight.
Common types of Australian ants
Some of the species that often cause problems in Aussie homes are:
- White footed black house ant,
- Big-headed ant (also known as major soldier ants),
- Pavement ant,
- Green-headed ant,
- Coastal brown ant,
- Minute house ant,
- Pharaoh ant,
- Sugar or carpenter ant,
- Argentine ant, and
- Pasture funnel ant.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of ants that exist in our country! The type of ant that’s in your home will affect where they nest, and the strategies that will be most effective for getting rid of them. If you aren’t sure what kind of ants you have, it may be best to call in the experts to figure it out.
For example, a number of species can make use of the space in your house to form a nest frequently using areas such as your wall cavities, or even within electrical appliances. Other species may choose to nest within timber or create volcanoes of soil that smother your gardens and lawns. An expert ant exterminator will be able to trace the ants to the core of the colony thanks to their knowledge of how certain ant types tend to nest.
When are ants the most active?
Ants are usually relatively dormant in winter and in colder conditions, and tend to become more active during the warmer months of October to March. In cooler parts of Australia, such as Melbourne, it’s also common for ant infestations to occur in the wintry months as ants may choose to concentrate their nests indoors.
Advice for dealing with ant problems effectively
The first step to take is to try and cut off ants from the food source they’re seeking. Keep your sweet and sticky things in the fridge or in an airtight container. Be sure to wipe up thoroughly soon after chopping meat, and you can protect your pet’s food from being gobbled up by ants by using boals that have a moat of water that ants cannot cross. However stringent you may be with your prevention methods, if you have an established ant colony on your hands, you’ll most probably need to call in pest control.
Whatever method you choose for eradicating your ants, we urge you to be wary of solutions that claim to be one-size-fits-all. A spray or bait that claims to destroy all your ants in a single spritz? It sounds too good to be true because it is. No one ant infestation is alike. It depends on a combination of factors such as the type of ant, your home, its inhabitants, and your habits. There’s a lot of complex structures at play that make DIY ant exterminations quite tricky, not to mention dangerous if you’re using strong chemicals.
Only pest control experts have the experience and analytical minds to find the root cause of your ant infestation and stop if once and for all. So give us a call at Pestline today and let us help you.