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Our cooler weather has caused a surge in mice and rat numbers in the suburban areas, according to industry experts, Amalgamated Pest Control.

Black Ant

Black Ant (Ochetellus glaber)

Black Ant - Ochetellus glaber

Structure, Appearance and Characteristics

Adult:

  • 2.5-3.0mm long.
  • Black in colour.
  • Single flattened node on pedicel, distinct and erect.
  • Chewing mouthparts.

Larvae (The young):

  • Whitish grub, narrower toward the head.

 

Life Cycle

Complete metamorphosis (egg – larva – pupa – adult). Eggs are small and ovoid in shape. Larvae are fed by the adults. After several moults the larvae pupate. There are 3 different castes of adults:

  1. Male: Winged. Function is to mate with female.
  2. Female: Winged until after mating. Largest in body size. This caste become the reproductive queen of the colony. Can live many years.
  3. Worker: Wingless, sterile. Act as nest-builders, foragers for food, feeding larvae, looking after eggs and defence of nest.

Soldiers come from this caste. Normally live about 1 year.

Habitat

Can nest outside against paths, in rockeries and other cracks and crevices. Will readily nest indoors. Nests have been found in between walls, ceilings, doors, fences and many more unusual places, but rarely do they nest in the soil. Adults will usually run in distinct trails which can assist in finding nests. Another sign for locating nests is the fall out of black droppings on floors, window sills and benches which indicate nests above or near the droppings.

Food

Preference is for sweet foods but will eat seeds, plants, fats and grease. Their need for moisture is the most common reason for invading kitchens, bathrooms or other sources of water in a premises. Adults cannot ingest solid food particles but ingest liquids which are pressed out of food material. Larvae depend entirely on workers for food. Young larvae are fed in liquids, the older larvae are fed on small food particles which they can ingest. Adults will also feed on excretions from larvae.

Economic Impact / Nuisance

Trailing of ants can also be considered unsightly. Swarming can occur within a premises which can cause distress to the occupants. Invasion of kitchen areas and wet areas can also be a nuisance to occupants. Can be vectors of disease organisms such as dysentery, smallpox and bacteria such as Salmonella. The adult stage is considered the pest.

Control

Being a social insect, concern for individuals is reduced. This is a major strength making control difficult. They are also small and extremely adaptable at establishing smaller colonies within a house or building. However the entire colony lives to serve the queen reproductive. Should the queen die the colony will die also. This is a weakness which must be exploited. Control measures can involve barrier treatments to try to keep ants away from their food and water source. Since the individual is not important, these barriers can be breached at the sacrifice of many colony members should the need arise. Another form of treatment is to exploit their foraging activities for food. Using baits, the food is taken back to the ant colony where it can target many more members including the queen. Our licensed technicians can assist you with a flexible, tailored solution to meet your needs and prevent these pests from becoming a problem in your home or workplace. Please contact us to see how we can help you maintain an environment free of these and other pests.

Our licensed technicians can assist you with a flexible, tailored solution to meet your needs and prevent these pests from becoming a problem in your home or workplace. Please contact us to see how we can help you maintain an environment free of these and other pests.

 


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