- What do they look like?
Small black ants, with leads often inches thick with ant numbers. When alarmed they tend to raise their rear end.
- Where do we find them?
Established populations in the Noosa area, Sunshine Beach through to Eumundi. Associated with well-watered gardens, golden palms and bushland near water.
We can’t miss them in our gardens or on our homes. If we work from our fence line in towards our homes, we often find steams of foraging ants tracking from neighbouring bushland and or our neighbour’s yard along fences, following any man-made structures, walkways, garden edging to our home, then up walls and often into our roof voids kitchens and bathrooms. Ants are always looking for something to eat, to drink & somewhere to build a nest.
- What are they eating?
These ant colonies can build into millions of individual ants populating whole neighbourhoods.
The South East Queensland sub-tropical climate has delivered a prolonged warm wet humid season. This ideal weather has accelerated the development of scale, mealy bugs and aphids. (Common garden sap sucking insects that feed on sweet plant sap and produce honeydew)
The HONEYDEW is a significant food source for these Nuisance black ants, so much so that these ants actively tend to and ‘Farm’ the sap sucking insects (Even transporting them and protecting them).
- Why are there so many?
- There is an abundance HONEYDEW producing insects on garden plants | delivering a huge food source for the ants
- The ants social structure is designed for rapid growth | Satellite nests multiply out from established nests.
- About 50% of the ants in a colony can reproduce allowing for rapid expansion
- Able to rapidly split nests to form multiple satellite nests often in trees, palms, under leaf litter, roof void and for some reason electrical equipment.
- These Nuisance black ants are not known to exhibit TROPHOLAXIS (This slows conventional pest management practices where the active in liquid insecticide treatments is passed from one ant to the next)
- The worker ants feed the colony by producing a sterile egg (Trophic Egg). There is no real evidence that the active in insecticides does in fact infects the Trophic Eggs, therefore limiting contamination of the nest.
- There is some evidence that DIY home treatments stimulate the Nuisance black ant populations to multiply, triggered by the die off of numbers of the workers required to maintain the colony.
- What can I do?
- Treat for scale, mealybug & aphids
- Trim plants, bushes and tree branches away from your home. Ideally no vegetation should touch the external walls. When plants touch walls of your home they can be used as a ‘bridge’ by ants to gain access into your home.
- For small infestations treat trails of Nuisance black ants with Selley’s TALON ant killer gel. You can find it at Woolworths, Coles or Bunnings. (Be aware that using this gel to control larger ant colonies will be very costly and time consuming with no guarantee of success.)
- Engage a professional pest control technician to conduct a thorough and systematic treatment and provide a Technicians Report outlining a management program designed for your home, based on the environment, construction type of your home, the pressure from the established ant colonies and your expectations.
Ants have become one of the primary pests infesting homes in recent years and depending on the size of the established populations they are near impossible to control using DIY chemical treatment or natural deterrents.
The Nuisance Black Ant described in this article | Technomyrmex difficilis
Pest Safe Homes (The Noosa Shire initiative) Sponsored by Cooroy Pest Control Trusted Local Technicians