Pest Spotlight: 5 Ant Questions Answered
This pest spotlight will focus on the creature that we know as the ant. You might be wondering why we have chosen to feature ants, tiny, seemingly innocuous little critter that lives outside. Yet, it might surprise you to know that ants are not always as harmless as they may seem, especially when they make their way inside our homes or workplaces, and particularly when they do so in numbers. You might have some questions about ants in general and as pests, and we are here to answer them. Keep reading to learn about ants, plus where to find professional pest control services if you have an issue with them or another kind of pest.
What are Ants?
Ants are a type of insect within the Formicidae family. They are eusocial, which is a term that describes creatures that are extremely social. Characteristics of eusocial animals include cooperative care for offspring, generations of adults within a colony which overlap, and division of labour into reproductive, and non-reproductive groups. These characteristics are all features of an ant colony. While there are an estimated total of 22,000 species of ant, only approximately 13,800 of these species have been classified. As mentioned, ants live in colonies which vary in size depending on various factors, such as species.
What is the Life Cycle of an Ant?
Ants begin life as an egg, and they pass through the larva stage and pupal stage before they emerge as adult ants. During the stages of metamorphosis, it is typical for the larva, for example, to be cared for by other ants in the colony. The lifespan of an ant can depend on its role within the colony. For example, a queen ant can potentially live up to 30 years, while those ants that perform a working function live between one and three years.
How do Ants Communicate?
Communication between ants is an essential feature of a successful ant colony. Ants are able to communicate mainly through the use of pheromones, which they can produce in a trail that they leave behind on the soil. This is a useful and effective method of communication for ants because it means that they can produce a trail from a food source, all the way back to the nest. The rest of the ants in the colony are then able to follow the pheromone trail. While these trails are an important element of communication for ants, some types of ants are also able to release a particular kind of pheromone if they have been crushed. This acts as an alarm that alerts other ants to the location of the injured ant and can put them in a sort of attack mode, ready to assist.
What Relationship do Ants Have with Humans?
Ants are actually capable of performing ecological functions that are of benefit to human beings, such as soil aeration. They are also able to control the population of other pests through suppression. Not only do ants provide an ecological benefit to humans, but they also provide a food source for people in many different parts of the world.
When are Ants Considered a Pest?
While there are over 4000 species of ants that reside in Australia, it might surprise you to know that only a handful of these species are considered to be pests. Those that are classified as pests are species that have been introduced to Australia, rather than native species.
Generally speaking, ants come to be considered a pest when they enter buildings, including but not limited to, homes or dwellings. Other establishments that would consider ants a pest include places such as cafes and restaurants and establishments such as hospitals and laboratories.
Ants will enter a building because they are attracted to a food source or a water source, and this is one reason that ants can be a problem in the summer months. They can go in search of a wide variety of foods, depending on the preference of their particular species. For instance, one species might be particularly attracted to proteins, while another species could be more attracted to sugars, or oils. There are many species of ants which are able to discover a food or water source and return to their nest in order to bring other ants back to the source. This is one way that an infestation, or an ant problem, can begin.
Ant infestations are undesirable for many reasons, including the fact that ants have the potential to spread disease, and they are attracted to and can congregate in large numbers around food and in places that need to be sterile.
Do You Need Pest Control Services?
If you have a problem with ants or another pest infestation, then don’t look any further than Infinity Pest Solutions. We are proud to offer you exceptional customer service, and professional pest control and management. Our family-owned business has a team of licensed and trained pest controllers that is ready to assist with all your pest needs.