ANTS 2017-07-04T12:52:11+00:00

ANTS

Ants are a ubiquitous fact of life in Australia. If you’ve been on a picnic, watched cricket from the hill, worked in your garden or left cake crumbs on your kitchen counter, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

You may not however, know how fascinating they are. Did you know?

  • The total weight of all the ants in the world is the same as, if not larger than that of all humans.
  • Some ants can support up to 100 times their own weight.
  • Ants are the longest living of all insects, living for up to 30 years.
  • All worker, soldier and queen ants are female.
  • Ants have two stomachs, one to hold food for themselves, and one for others.

Despite those remarkable facts, ants can be a real nuisance to live with. Depending on the species, size of the colony and where they’re located, they can also be very difficult to eradicate and even cause damage to your property.

WE KNOW ANTS

We can treat minor ant problems as part of a general pest control treatment, but for more significant infestations (e.g. larger colonies or funnel ants in lawns), we need to assess the situation on site to determine the best method of treatment.

Some of the species we commonly encounter in the Northern Rivers and featured below are Funnel Ants, White Footed Ants, Black House Ants, Paver Ants, Green-headed Ants, Coastal Brown Ants and Jack Jumper Ants.

Bull Ant
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FUNNEL ANTS

Funnel Ants are a particularly widespread problem in this area and can cause long term damage to your lawn and property.  See some funnel ant facts below and our blog article: Funnel Ants – 10 Reasons to Get Rid of Them.

Golden brownish colour, prominent head and abdomen.
Adults grow up to 5mm.
Funnel Ants inhabit open lawns in urban areas as well as bushlands.
They get their name from the shape of the entrance to their nest, which is like a cone or funnel in the ground. These entrances can be up to 4 cm in diameter and 30 cm deep. The nests can be so extensive and dense that their presence can severely affect soil structure, making it prone to collapse. Funnel ants can also be aggressive when defending the nest. They live underground most of the time and after rain, excavate the soil to dry out their nests. Funnel Ants do have the ability to sting.
Funnel Ants’ diet includes a range of plant and animal material. They have a mutually beneficial relationship with aphids on plant roots. The ants take excess sugary fluid exuded by the bugs and in return, the aphids are protected from predators. It is common to find parts of insects and other invertebrates close to the nest entrances. Insects like beetles fall into the funnel and struggle to escape before the ants attack. The ants quickly dismember the victims and take them into the nest as food for larvae. This allows the ants to reduce the amount of time spent away from the nest.
The ants are very difficult to treat not only because a substantial part of their time is spent underground but also due to their incredible breeding rate and the fact the new queens “walk” a very short way to set up new colonies so each mound has its own queen.
Funnel Ants

Funnel Ants.

WHITE-FOOTED ANT

This is a black to brownish-black ant with yellowish-white feet, though it can be difficult to see that their feet are a different colour.
Adults grow up to 2.5-3mm long.
Invasive ants that find their way inside wall voids where they follow cabling and emerge in kitchens and bathrooms, where spills and crumbs can be found. Colonies can contain up to a million ants and be difficult to eradicate. Adult workers are wingless females and are the ones seen looking for food, mainly at night if temperatures are high.
They do not bite or sting. Although colonies are vast in numbers, they tend to spread out into satellite colonies which nest in different locations.
Strongly attracted to sweet substances but will also feed on dead insects and other protein. Attracted to aphids and mealy bugs because they secrete honeydew.
White Footed Ant

White-Footed Ant.

BLACK HOUSE ANT

Oval segmented, shiny and black, slightly smaller and stockier than the White-Footed House Ant.
Adults grow up to 2.5-3mm long.
Nest under stones or dry logs, commonly found in gardens.
These ants are regarded as a nuisance and scavenge in kitchens, garbage and also dog excrement, therefore potentially spreading diseases such as salmonella.
Attracted to sweet substances but also eat other insects and worms, as well as vegetation, such as small seeds.
Black House Ants

Black House Ant.

PAVER ANTS

Light brown to black with appendages lighter than rest of the body; parallel lines on head and thorax, 12-segmented antennae with a three-segmented club.
Adults grow up to 2.5-3mm long.
Pavement ants invade buildings while foraging for food, nests are outdoors under stones, along curbs or in cracks of pavement but can also nest indoors in walls and under floors.
Earned their name because they nest in cracks in driveways and footpaths, piling the resulting dirt in a mound on top; sting but not bite. They forage for food and set up trails to food sources from their nests, become a nuisance when large groups infest a kitchen or garden patio.
Feed on a wide variety of foods including live and dead insects, seeds and honeydew from aphids. They are opportunistic feeders that will ‘swarm’ on foods. Once inside your home, they will feed on meats, nuts, cheese, honey, breadcrumbs and grease.
Paver Ants

Paver Ants.

GREEN HEADED ANT

Black with metallic green-blue to green purple sheen on head.
Adults grow up to 5-7mm long.
Typically nests in small colonies under paths and among rockeries, live in bushy and urban areas.

Rarely enters houses, Ant bites from one of these can inflict a painful sting to humans.

Scavengers primarily hunting for proteins and oils. They are also predators of smaller insects and will happily live on the sweet sticky secretions of aphids and other sap sucking insects.
Green Headed Ant

Green Headed Ant.

COASTAL BROWN ANTS

Light brown colour, sometimes called the Big Headed Ant due to larger major workers having massive darker heads. The rear half of the head is smooth and glossy and the front half sculptured. This has large mandibles commonly used to crush seeds and other small items.
Small minor workers around 1.5 -3mm long and larger major workers 3.5-4.5 mm long with massive darker heads.
This species does not sting. It can be a nuisance pest in the garden and may enter houses to forage. Usually nests in the ground with nest entrances in the open or under rocks and logs or between pavers. It can also nest indoors in crevices in brickwork, wall cavities, behind skirtings and architraves.
Piles of loose soil are thrown up around nest entrances. Homeowners are often annoyed by these ‘dirt piles’ and by ants foraging in bathrooms, kitchens, around doors and windows as well as on exterior paved or brick walkways or driveways.
It has a varied diet but prefers food of animal origin (protein and fats) to sweet foods. However, workers will tend sap-sucking insects for honeydew.
Coastal brown ants - Ballina Pest Control

Coastal Brown Ants.

JACK JUMPER ANTS

Jack Jumper Ants are also known as Hopper Ants or Skipper Ants in South Australia. The Jack Jumper Ant most frequently associated with allergic reactions is commonly known as the Jack Jumper Ant, Jack Jumper or Jumping Jack Ant.

Jack Jumper ants have a black body and orange to brown jaws (pincers) and limbs.
Adults grow to 10-15mm long.
Most common in moist open forest and rainforest edges in eastern coastal Australia, live in underground nests. Although established nests can form massive mounds, they are often difficult to find, and may be present under rock, with the entrance surrounded by a pile of fine gravel.

Jack Jumper ants belong to the Myrmecia Species which is the same as the Bull Ant family, they often display jerky, jumping movements. They do not bite. Rather, they grasp the victim in their jaws, then bend and sting them. Their sting is in the tail. They are aggressive in nature and typically walk with a hopping motion, and can sometimes jump from surrounding vegetation. There are different types of allergic reactions to stinging insects. The stings of Jack Jumper ants, like those of bees and wasps, are very painful. Local swelling is very common. Large local swellings can also occur, lasting a few days at a time. Can also cause anaphylaxis in severely allergic cases.

They are active predators, catching a range of invertebrates that they subdue with their powerful stings, but they also gather nectar and honeydew.
Jack Jumper Ant

Jack Jumper Ant.