Ants do not always stay outdoors and when they enter your home, they can become a nuisance pest.
If you discover ants in your home (in the kitchen or bathroom), knowing how to act and what steps to take to get rid of them is critical to control the infestation - this is where Rentokil can help you.
Call Rentokil Pest Control Ireland 1890 666 444 for further advice on how to get rid of ants or to arrange a visit by a Rentokil technician.
Ant nests can be found in a number of locations in and around the home such as in cavity walls, old tree stumps, under flag stones and patios.
Ants in the garden can be beneficial to the soil as they aerate the soil through their natural tunneling movements. However, they can damage plants if an ant nest is located directly next to the root system.
Although ants are an irritant when they
come in to the home the most common species, the Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger), is not thought to carry disease.
However, as it is impossible to know where the ants were last foraging for food, it is sensible to act quickly to get rid of ants and to take steps to prevent them entering your home and coming into contact with your food.
Worried about ants in the kitchen? The majority of Black Garden Ants will only come in to your home to forage for food and are attracted by sweet and sticky substances.
If possible, try to identify and follow an ants trail inside your home to find their entry source. Once the access point is located, try to firmly seal the crack or opening giving them access into your home.
There are various myths around ways of deterring or getting rid of ants in the home. A lot of these myths include the use of natural / organic products (such as vinegar, cinnamon, lavender or mint) as a way of ant control.
Unfortunately most of the methods suggested only provide a temporary solution to the problem as they often don’t eliminate the ant nest, which is the main source of the infestation.
This only provides a temporary solution as the main nest is usually too deep for such a remedy to work effectively.
Vinegar doesn’t kill ants. Spraying vinegar along a visible ant trail can help to confuse ants about where to go to find the rest of their colony.
Ants are unable to eat solid food (they swallow the juice from pieces of food). Whilst they may carry grains of rice or wheat back to their colony, ants will not explode by eating them.
Although amateur DIY pest control products, such as ant sprays or powders, can be a cost effective way to kill ants, they are not recommended for a large infestation.
The ‘flying ants’ we commonly see between July and August are, in fact, sexually active males and females of the Black garden ant who have been waiting all summer for the perfect conditions to perform their nuptial flight.
Once some ants begin to fly, other ants detect their chemical smell and join them. The swarms last all day.
Black garden ants can bite if you come into contact with them. This can sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people.
Can ants bite you? Black garden ants can bite if you come into contact with them. Their bite is a form of defence mechanism. The common red ant is another biting ant found in Ireland.
Pharoahs ants (Monomorium pharaonis) have very tiny mouthparts, which makes biting unbroken skin difficult, however they do feed on open wounds.
Ant bites can cause allergic reactions in some people but in the majority of cases the main risk from a bite is the skin irritation it causes. Using antihistamines may help to soothe the irritation. Consult your pharmacist for more advice.
Garden Ants / Black Ants (Lasius niger) – Worker ants are 4-5mm in length but the queen can be as big as 15mm. Garden Ant queens lay their eggs in the spring in nests that are typically in soil but can be in brickwork or under bark. Garden Ants are attracted to sweet foods and leave a pheromone trail back to their nests for other ants to follow to the food source.
Pharoah’s Ants (Monomorium pharaonis) – Worker Pharaoh ants are 1.5 -2mm long and the queen is between 4-6mm long. Both workers and the queen are a yellow-brown colour.
Pharaoh’s Ants originate from the tropics and require artificial heat in order to survive and reproduce and tend to live in large heated buildings such as hospitals, hotels and blocks of flats. This ant’s diet is largely of decomposing foodstuffs and it carries harmful germs picked up from when it has been feeding.
Common Red Ant / European Fire Ant (Myrmica rubra) - Workers are 4-5 mm, their "waist" has two segments. Nuptial flights occur from August - September.
Queens overwinter before laying eggs for the first time. Some queens overwinter alone, others as groups of newly mated queens, and some join an existing colony. In the following spring, queens search for food to begin reproduction.