In their own outdoor environment ants have an important part to play and can generally be left undisturbed. If ants invade your home, however, they can make life a misery. While there are an amazing 36 species of ant in the UK, the black ant attracts the most attention, when they invade homes and buildings.
Black, or garden ants are about 4mm in length and are a very dark brown, almost black. During the summer large numbers of both winged females and males are reared in the nest or colony, usually underground.
Why ants invade
When ants invade your home it's for one reason only: food! They have a sweet tooth and are partial to syrups, jams, preserves and sugar. Ants can be seen making a trail between their nest entrance and the food source as they transport food into the colony to nourish their workers and the queen inside.
Are they harmful?
Black ants do not transmit disease to humans but they do travel over dirty ground in their search for a food source and so could transfer bacteria to food and work surfaces. Unless food is badly attacked by ants, the risk of infection is probably small, nevertheless most people find it unacceptable having ants indoors.
Where ants become an indoor pest, the only real method of control is to locate the nest or colony by following the trail of ants. The nest can then be treated with an insecticidal dust or spray which is carried into the colony. You can purchase these from any good hardware store.
Likely entrance points include holes in walls, possibly around drainage and waste pipes; air bricks; and beneath poorly finished work surfaces and kitchen units, baths and wash basins. These should be properly sealed with mortar or mastic.
If the nest cannot be located because it is beneath a concrete floor, for example, it may be impossible to completely destroy the colony and thus achieve effective eradication. In these situations, treating foraging ants will be largely ineffective although some insecticides are available which provide a residual barrier against them. These insecticides can be applied at points where ants are seen emerging into the building.
We do not provide a service for ant problems. If you are being affected by ants, please engage the services of a commercial pest control company.