Black ant infestations in winter are normally unheard of in the ACT but with changing weather patterns, this is now not the case.
We recently attended a home in Wanniassa where black ants had infested two kitchen cupboards, an entire wall of the lounge and kitchen walls.
Ants were present in the thousands but not actively feeding. They were in fact moving there eggs to new nesting locations in the areas mentioned above. Although the ants were moving relatively slow when the central heating was turned on the ants would move at an accelerated rate around the house – with their eggs.
In the past two weeks APC have attended 12 properties in Kingston, Manuka, Red Hill, Ainslea and Barton to remove black ants. It’s clear that ants are an all year round pest and not just the warmer months.
How do you get rid of black ants?
Identifying the correct ant species is vital since they all have different food and nesting preferences. A thorough inspection of a home will allow us to locate nests for eradication.
Chemical Treatments: Chemical treatments for ant control range from liquid and dry powder formulation to granules. Most active ingredients in these products are based on synthetic pyrethroids, which are much safer for your family and pets. Chemical treatments can sometimes provide ongoing protection (like a barrier) against future ant infestation, however this depends on the species of ant, and the type and placement of the ant control product.
Ant Baiting: Ants baits are a highly effective ant control tool. After correct identification of the ants, the correct bait can be selected and placed strategically to encourage the ants to feed. The advantage of using ant baits is that the ants transfer the bait back to the colony; if the baiting job is done well, the entire colony can be eradicated with a single visit. The disadvantage of using baits is that the baits may need to be replenished over time – and the ants will not die off immediately, so patience is needed.
Health issues and problems
Black ants not only cause a nuisance but pack a nasty bite if disturbed. They are not known to cause serious health issues, but if you or a member of your family are bitten, follow these basic First Aid steps:
- Wash with soap and water and apply an antiseptic if available
- Ensure that the patient’s tetanus vaccination is up to date
- Apply an ice-pack to reduce local pain and swelling
- Pain relief may be required eg. paracetamol or an antihistamine (to reduce swelling, redness and itch)
- The patient should seek medical advice if they develop any other symptoms or signs of infection.
- For any patient who shows signs of anaphylaxis, call 000 for an ambulance, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
Top DIY tips
Products purchased from the supermarket or hardware stores are generally not effective in controlling black ants. These products are often costly and are not designed to correctly attack the biology of these pests.
You can help reduce black ant colonies at your home by following these simple tips:
- Remove sources of food and water from the outside area such as pet food and water bowls – clean and change these regularly.
- Seal gaps in window frames and door frames.
- Follow good hygiene practices in the kitchen – keep benches clean and remove garbage regularly.
- This will reduce visitation of ants and help baits work more effectively.
If you believe or suspect that you have ants, please contact Amalgamated Pest Control Canberra for further advice.