There are two main species of ants found in the United Kingdom, the Garden Ant and the Pharaoh's Ant.
The Pharaoh's Ant (left) is smaller than The Garden Ant.
The Garden Ant
The garden ant is black in colour and has a segmented body, workers are 5mm in length and the queen 15mm long.
The garden ant is found mostly in gardens in the UK and will forage from their nests, which are usually located in gardens in the soil and lawns close to buildings. They can cause a nuisance by entering kitchens in the search for sweet foods to take back to the queen. Garden ants do not carry germs or spread disease but are mainly a nuisance due to their foraging habits.
Garden ants will swarm in mid to late summer when the males mate with the females whilst in flight. The males then die, the females lose their wings and hibernate to create new colonies the following year. Although the life cycle is complete in two months given favourable conditions nests may persist in the same place for many years.
The control of garden ants can be achieved by seeking out and destroying nests by using boiling water or an approved insecticide dust or spray directly onto the nest. Follow manufacturers' advice. Dusting or spraying openings around building (around windows, doors etc) can prevent ants from gaining access to buildings. Take all precautions during the season to ensure that all sweet/sugary foods kept indoors are in sealed containers and spillages cleared up.
The Pharaoh's Ant
The Pharaoh's Ant is of tropical origins and is smaller in size the workers being only 2mm long and the queen only 5mm long, both are yellow in colour.
Because the Pharaoh's Ant is of tropical origins it requires artificial heat to survive and reproduce. They tend to live mainly in large heated buildings such as flats and hospitals and have unpleasant diets such as decomposing foodstuffs. The Pharaoh's Ant can carry harmful germs picked up when feeding. They are very difficult to eradicate.
The Pharaoh's Ant develops many colonies within the same nest which will have several queens. Once nests become overcrowded, adults and workers will carry off eggs and larvae to new sites to form new colonies. Although the life cycle is the same as the garden ant the fact that they live in heated buildings means that they are not affected by the seasons. They are extremely difficult to control due to the large number of colonies formed.
The control of Pharaoh's Ants is best left to professional pest control contractors.
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