Common Black Ant
The Common Black Ant is either dark brown or black in colour and 3.5-5mm in size and as its name states is the most common type of ant seen in the UK.
Where they are found
The ants will lay their eggs in the spring, being produced in late summer, often near and sometimes in houses. Black Ants are omnivorous and have a taste for sugary substances, normally making a nuisance in the kitchen
Spread of disease
Ants can spread disease, as they typically inhabit unclean areas and may then walk over food and preparation surfaces, thereby contaminating food intended for human consumption. However there are no specific diseases linked to Ants.
By application of a professional pest control insecticide which is transferred back to the nest by worker ants to eliminate the queen and destroy the nest.
Worker ants are approximately 2mm in length, with the queen being slightly larger at 4mm. Worker ants are red in appearance with a darker abdomen. The worker ants are wingless. The queen ants do have wings, but do not fly. Winged males will appear periodically and mate with the queens.
Where to find them
Nests will occupy any suitable crevice and are often located deep within the foundations, service ducting and wall cavities of buildings. The size of the nest appears to be determined by the amount of space available more than any other factor. Pharaoh ants will feed on almost anything, however prefer sweet and protein foodstuffs.
Pharaoh ants are tropical in origin, this is reflected in the fact that they require a minimum temperature of 18C to breed, with 30C being the optimum. For this reason the ants will inhabit warm areas such as boiler rooms and around central heating pipework. The large boilers and hot water pipes in tower blocks, hospitals, prisons and factories make them particularly susceptible to Pharaoh ant infestation.
Disease risk and damage
There are no specific diseases associated with Pharaoh ants. However due to their extremely small size they are able to penetrate all but the most secure packaging. This means that they may contaminate foodstuffs intended for human consumption, with pathogens picked up whilst travelling through buildings. Pharaoh ant infestations within hospitals may pose additional risks to human health.
Pharaoh ants can be extremely difficult to eradicate, but control can be achieved by the use of insecticide containing a juvenile growth hormone analogues. This will prevent the larvae from developing as well as sterilising the queens and winged males.