Cumbria Wildlife Management & Pest Solutions  - Pest Prevention & Control
Office:  01900 818 817  Mob: 0784 9954 546
Where do they live? Black Garden Ants nest mainly in dry soil and humus. Although their nests are most often noticed in gardens – in flower beds, lawns, and under paving stones – they are also common in dry grasslands and heaths.
From their nests, they forage widely for food along scent-marked trails across soil and ground vegetation, and – most noticeably – across paved surfaces and into houses, where they are attracted to sugar and crumbs.
Outside human habitation, they feed on many things: small live insects, dead insects, nectar, seeds, etc. They also feed on the sugary secretions produced by aphids, some other sap-feeding insects and certain caterpillars, and often tend them to protect the source of this food from predators.Biology
The ant builds its nest in soil, under stones or in tree stumps and it frequently nests underneath paving stones. It may sometimes occupy the nests of other species of ants, colonies number around 5,000 individuals. Small black ants 'milk' aphids, collecting drops of sweet honeydew exuded by the aphids. An extensive range of food is eaten, including seeds, flies, flower nectar and other small insects, which are killed and taken back to the nest Aphids may even be taken into the nest. Winged reproductive males and females engage in a mass mating flight in hot, moist weather throughout July and August. Males die after mating, and females set up new colonies. Queens mate only once, storing adequate sperm inside her body to last her lifetime. The mating flight makes sure that the species disperses; also increasing the chance that males and females from different nests will mate, avoiding inbreeding, the winged reproductive adults of different colonies in one area fly at the same time. After finding a suitable site, the queen begins to produce eggs. The resulting workers are non reproductive females, who take over the care of the colony. After hatching, the larvae at the beginning feed on un-hatched eggs, they are then fed with regurgitated fluid.
A careful inspection is necessary before any treatment is started. Ask the client if they have noticed where the ants seem to be coming from, look for all entry points in cracks and crevices in or around the kitchen, bathroom and laundry areas. Initially treat all cracks and crevices and entry points, Gel baits are available for black ants. These rely on the worker ants picking up the bait and carrying it back to the nest and feeding the queen, Place baits where the ants are foraging. Outside try to track the ants back to their nests and flood with a residual insecticide. Spray paved areas lightly, lift up and treat under pot plants. Be cautious with cracks in concrete and under paths. Inform the client to move rubbish bins and pet’s bowls away from the house.
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