is the ant which everybody knows, the good old garden ant. It is found
everywhere and no matter what you do, short of sterilising the ground which
kills everything, you have just got to live with it. The queen can
be as big as 15 mm but the worker or male is only 4 - 5 mm long. These
are the flying ants which everybody associates with in middle to late summer
Ants frequently build
their nests in the insulation layers of houses and from there they penetrate
up into the house itself through the cracks which inevitably appear
in the concrete and cement. Below is a picture showing garden ants burrowing
up from the wall of a cellar, notice that they virtually separate the
concrete into separate grains hence you end up with a pile of what is
The workers in the nest carry
out all the tasks required to keep the nest in good order and cleanliness.
Below you can see one of the workers looking after the larvae and also the
nature these ants search for flower nectar and for what is poetically known
as "honey dew"but which is actually a sticky, sweet secretion
produced by aphids or greenfly. When garden ants get into the house it will
soon be seen that they are particularly attracted to sweet substances, such
as drops of jam or scraps of cake. As soon as one ant has found the food
source, he then returns to the nest at the same time laying a pheromone(scent)
trail, once back at the nest the ant can communicate with the other ants
by tapping them with it's antennae and also by feeding them with some of
the contents of it's crop. The next thing you know the whole nest is at
the site where you dropped that jammy spoon. Below is a picture of some
black ants around some spilt fruit juice.
are various theories and observations about development times but here
goes: egg to larvae about 21 days, larva to pupae about 12 days and
pupae to immature adult: 53-54 days The immature adult to adult will
take place over the next 3-4 days
what can we do to control ants, well as I said before, in the garden,
it is a thankless task because the amount of insecticide you would have
to apply would not be very eco-friendly. In fact it would probably
kill plants as well, apart from the fact that it would destroy insects
which are crucial to the successful balance of the garden. Things
like ladybirds and ground beetles all of which perform a natural function
by predating on other species thereby keeping them under control.
But we don't
really want ants running around the house and getting into everything.
We can prevent this by barrier spraying around the house wall/floor
junctions and also treating areas inside the house which already may
have a problem. The trick is to treat areas with the minimum of
insecticide, in fact just enough to do the job. Ideally, if the
problem is bad, then call in a professional they have the correct types
of insecticides for the job, they know how to use them, and apart
from that you can't buy these products at the same strengths.
A good trick is creosote painted around the house will help prevent
entry of all types of insect as it is quite poisonous to them.
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