What do black ants look like?
Black ants are small, measuring 4mm in length. Although they are called ‘black ants’ they are in fact very dark brown. The rarely-seen queen ant is 12mm long and is lighter brown in colour. Male drone ants have wings, but the majority of worker ants do not.
How quickly do black ants multiply?
Black ants mate once a year in the air. Swarms of males fertilise the queen who then drops to the ground and bites off her wings so that she can excavate a home underground. Once she has set up a chamber, the queen will lay thousands of eggs continuously for over ten years. Undisturbed, a queen has the capacity to lay millions of eggs in one lifetime.
Where do black ants live?
Black ants set up colonies in soil. As they prefer some protection, they burrow under lawns, paving stones and in the foundations of buildings. Ants do not normally take up home indoors, but as they are happy to travel far for food, you will often see them beating a trail towards the larder.
What are the signs of a black ant infestation?
- Ants have a sweet tooth. They will quickly scout out where sugary foods are kept and set up a chemical trail for other ants to follow. If you have an infestation nearby, you will see these ants marching in an orderly line towards their meal.
- You will discover ants in your food especially unprotected items such as fruit, cake and sugar.
- Little mounds of dirt near walls, on lawns, and in flowerpots are a sign that ants have turned up the soil while building their nests.
- Once a year during the summer, you might see swarms of ants mating in mid air.
Does a black ant infestation need controlling?
- As black ants are able to enter buildings through tiny openings, they can quickly become a problem in the home or at your business premises.
- Although black ants are not carriers of disease, they do cross-contaminate. In other words they spread germs by marching over infected areas and then continuing onto food and work surfaces.
- As they are able to get into boxes and packets of food, they can destroy food stores. This can be a big problem for commercial premises such as bakeries, groceries and restaurants.
- Underground ant colonies can damage a plant’s roots by depriving them of food and water. They can also cause unsightly mounds on lawns.
- Different types of ant behave and breed in different ways and some modes of extermination can exacerbate the infestation. It is always wise to consult a trained professional to identify the ants.