Ants are the most common animal species found on the ground.
Ants comprise three main castes, which have different roles:
- Workers – the largest part of the colony, they build and maintain the nest, look after the eggs and larvae, gather or hunt for food, defend the nest and care for the queens. All workers are female.
- Queens – mate with males, found new colonies and lay eggs. Can be twice the size of other ants.
- Males – sole purpose is to mate with a queen.
The job an ant does in the colony depends upon its age. Young ants tend to the queen deep within the nests and, as they get older and more experienced, they go outside to forage.
Ants Lifecycle and Geographical Location
- Ants have 4 stages, egg, larvae, pupae (or cocoon in some species) and adult. The tiny 0.5mm eggs hatch out into larvae. It is the sticky surface on the eggs and hooked hairs on the larvae that enable them to clump together. This makes it easier for the ants to move the larvae to a new location in times of threat.
- The pupae (or cocoon in some species) develops into an adult ant in about 8 weeks and it emerges very pale and soft. In a few hours it darkens as its exoskeleton hardens.
- The life span of the ant varies with species, from a few weeks to several years. The queen of the black Ant (Lasius niger) can live for up to 15 years.
- There are about 50 species of ants living in the United Kingdom, but not all are native. The ones that are a problem to gardeners are Lasius niger, the common Black garden ant; Lasius flavius, the yellow meadow ant and Myrmica species, red ants.
Damage Caused by Ants
- Black, red and yellow ants are found in the garden and, towards the end of July, swarms of flying ants take to the air looking for a mate and a place to lay their eggs.
- Black Ants are most commonly seen in the house, attracted by sweet food and milking greenfly and blackfly for the sweet honeydew. They can protect these from predators and if necessary move them to new feeding grounds. Black Ants can nest anywhere including under pavements and along the sides of lawns with nests of usually 4000 to 7000 ants.
- The Yellow Meadow Ant builds its nest in the lawn making unsightly mounds which are difficult to get the lawn mower over. They benefit from a neatly tended lawn as the short grass means that the nest underneath gets sufficient sun to stay warm. They forage under the ground so tend not to be seen until the nest is disturbed or they take to the air for the annual mating flight.
- Red Ants are aggressive and can deliver a painful sting if disturbed. The irritant in the sting is formic acid. They live in smaller colonies than the other species.
A Safe Solution to Your Ant Problem
Nemasys NO ANTS, part of the Nemasys range, is the simple solution for Ant control in your garden that is safe for children, pets and wildlife.
A regular regime of using Nemasys NO ANTS through April to September is the best way to keep ants at bay throughout the year.
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