The last two weeks have been very busy with calls from concerned customers about ants invading their homes. One of these calls was from a child care centre in Acton ACT where children were vacated from the play area due very large black ants occupying the area.
Our technician attended the centre to find a large colony of Carpenter Ants well established in the play area which is a large concern and a potential health danger. Fortunately, we were able to control the colony quickly.
Our office also received another eight calls for the same type of ant from Gunghalin, Tuggeranong and Crace areas.
There are approximately 128 known species and subspecies recorded. Many of these ants vary greatly in size, ranging from 2.5mm to 14 mm in length.
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
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 ants. These products are often costly and are not designed to correctly attack the biology of these pests.
You can help reduce 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 termites, please contact Amalgamated Pest Control Canberra for further advice.