Ants cause problems primarily when they forage in buildings for food or water, or when they construct nests in buildings and gardens. When searching for food, ants can be attracted to a wide range of products, with different species preferring sweets, meats, fats or oils. They will also search indoors for water during dry periods. When desirable items are found many species will recruit fellow nest mates to help gather the food and return it to the nest. This can result in large numbers of ants appearing over a short period of time.
Of all insects that infest buildings, ants are the most common. There are many different species of ant. Each is unique in terms of nesting sites, habits, characteristics and feeding preferences.
Ants live in colonies consisting of:
- An egg-laying female (Queen)
- Short-lived males and workers (sterile female)
- Foragers in gardens or kitchens (Workers)
Ant control can be difficult, but there are some things you should know about their behavior that will help you keep things under control:
Ants can enter through even the tiniest cracks, seeking water and sweet or greasy food substances in the kitchen and pantry.
- Pheromone trails
Ants leave an invisible chemical trail which contains pheromones for others to follow once they locate the food source.
- Nest locations
They can nest anywhere in and around your home or office; in lawns, walls, stumps, foundations, and even under concrete slabs.
- Colony size
A colony can contain thousands of Ants and whole colonies can uproot and relocate quickly when threatened.
- Colony Lifetime
A colony can live a relatively long lifetime. Worker ants may live seven years and the queen may live as long as 15 years.
- Do-it-yourself ineffectiveness
Most do-it-yourself ant control approaches only kill the ants you see and are ineffective as a long term solution.