There are two main pest species, the Black or Garden Ant and the Pharoah’s Ant. They both cause nuisance as they travel widely in search of food, following trails and clustering around the food source.
Pharaoh's Ants pose the biggest risk to health. As they often feed in unhygienic areas such as drains and bins they can easily transmit pathogens. This can be of particular concern if infestations are found in sterile hospital environments. Infestations can also be more difficult to eradicate as the worker ants have the ability to ‘bud off’ new colonies if the main colony is under stress.
|Latin name: Also known as:||Lasius niger Garden Ant|
|Length:||2 - 12mm|
|Colour & description:||The workers are 2 – 5mm in length and dark brown/black. Queens are upto 12mm long and are brown.|
|Habits & habitat:||Black ants nest outdoors in walls and under paving etc. They forage widely for food and water and commonly enter domestic premises and control is only required where they have become a serious nuisance indoors. Have only 1 queen per nest.|
|Reproduction rate:||A black ant colony has a single queen and tends to have about 5,000 individuals. A queen can live up to 12 years. Life cycle: 50 – 70 days|
|Latin name: Also known as:||Monomorium pharaonis|
|Length:||1.5 - 5mm|
|Colour & description:||The workers are 1.5 - 2mm in length and yellow-brown in colour. The antennal segments end in a distinct club with three progressively longer segments. Queens are between 3.6 - 5mm long and are dark red in colour. They are winged but do not fly.|
|Habits & habitat:||They require warm humid conditions so in many areas they are confined to buildings. In warm climates infestations can be found outside. Infestations can be found in a wide variety of locations including apartment blocks, hotels, hospitals, food handling premises etc.
Have many queens per nest and infestations tend to spread through budding. Foraging workers leave the main nest with brood to form satellite colonies.
|Life cycle:||38 – 45 days|
|Reproduction rate:||A Pharaoh Ant queen can lay 400 or more eggs in her lifetime. Most lay 10 to 12 eggs per batch in the early days of egg production and only four to seven eggs per batch later.|