Ants

About Ants

Ants do not pose any immediate threat to humans and are in most cases just plain annoying.

Living in colonies, they travel back and forth taking food and water to the nest, though they cause problems primarily when they forage in buildings for food or water and when they construct nests in buildings and gardens.

 

As we all know all ants are fond of sweet substances, and during the summer months they are also drawn to water sources – meaning that they will find your kitchen bench and sink a delightful place to visit.

 

Ants often move nest sites when disturbed, or with a change in food supply. This can make control and removal of ants difficult. They may leave for short periods only to return later when a new food source is located and they can recolonise from nearby nests very quickly. In order to effectively combat ants you will need a constant eradication program which will go back to the nest itself.

Control and removal of ants can be difficult unless a process of constant eradication is utilised.

Australian Ant Species

Argentine Ant

(Linepithema humile)

Argentine Ants are quite small 1.6mm – 2.6mm long.

Slim & dark brown in colour.

They do not possess a sting, but they will bite (the bite does not hurt)

Also they prefer to travel in trails.

These ants have a social structure that includes numerous queens in each nest.

They prefer sugary foods, and will travel long distances to find food.

Argentine ants are typically found in urban areas.

Argentine ants are very dominent as they will take over areas, driving out any other native species of ants, They are pests because they attack nesting birds and hatching eggs. They also raid beehives and other orchards.

Argentine Ants lay elliptical, pearly-white colored eggs in the warmer weather. Larvae emerge approx 28 days later. The larval stage lasts anywhere from 11 to 60 days, followed by a pupal stage of 10 to 25 days. Therefore, the entire life cycle of an Argentine Ant from egg to adult takes 2 to 3 months on average.

argentine ant

Black House Ant

(Ochetellus glaber)

Black House Ants are small, black & shiny.

2mm – 3mm long

The antenna has 12 segments.

They nest underground, or in gaps in walls and beside pathways.

Black house ants are the most common species of ants in Australia.

They like to be close to domestic properties for a food source.

They are scavengers attracted to food scraps, rubbish bins and pet

excrement, which can cause problems by spreading disease.

These ants travel in trails in search of food. they live in large colonies, but are easy to eradicate, follow the trail, then destroy the nest.

They are active both day & night, but more active at night or on shady days.

Black ants have 4 stages of life (egg – larva – pupa – adult).

Eggs are small, white and oval shaped.

Larvae are fed by the adults.

After several moults the larvae pupate. There are 3 different castes of adults:

  1. Male: (has wings) job is to mate with the queen
  2. Female: (has wings) until mating. They are the largest in body. This caste becomes the reproductive queen and  can live for many years.
  3. Worker: (no wings) is sterile. Main function is to build the nests, find food, feed larvae, look after eggs and defend the nest.

Soldiers usually live for about 1 year.

Black Ant

Bull Ant

(Myrmecia)

Bull ants are one of the largest ants, they are between 15mm – 40mm long.

They are red/brown in colour, have large eyes providing them with excellent vision & a large mandible that they can deliver a painful sting with.

These are outdoor ants and usually nest underground, in forest or bushland areas mostly.

The nests usually have a single entry found at the top of a mound, which is often decorated with leaves, sticks and other debris to provide shelter and warmth for the nest.

This species, being one of the most aggressive will attack any intruder that comes close to the nest.

The sting is painful and can be delivered multiple times, by multiple ants.

These ants can communicate by touch and smell.

Bullants often use their venom to paralyse small insects for food. They also eat nectar and other plants.

Bull Ants have 4 lifecycle stages:  (egg – larva – pupa – adult)

  • Eggs hatch into small grubs who grow to be worker ants.
  • Fertilized eggs hatch into females these will become the worker & soldier ants & unfertilized ones hatch into males who will mate with the queen.

Most Bullants live for 8 to 10 weeks passing through the four stages of life & the queen can live for several years.

Bull Ant

Coastal Brown Ant

(Pheidole megacephala)

Coastal Brown Ants (AKA – the big headed ant) is a small ant 1.5mm – 2.5mm long.

They are light golden brown in colour.

They have very shiny abdomens and large heads.

Coastal brown ants live in dry soil, lawns & agricultural areas, paving & bricks.

They have mounds at the top of the nest which is easy to spot.

They will enter a property in search of food, they feed mostly on insects and honeydew.

These ants are a very invasive and create super colonies as they often have multipe queens who produce rapidly.

Although they are not overly aggressive they do have a sting (it does not hurt humans)

Coast Brown Ants have 4 lifecycle stages:  (egg – larva – pupa – adult)

The queen can lay up to 290 eggs per month, the eggs hatch 2-4 weeks later.

  • Worker ants live for approx 1 year
  • Queen ants live for several years
Coastal Brown Ant

Fire Ant

(solenopsis)

Fire Ants (Named this because of the burning sensation caused when they sting)

They are approx 2mm – 6mm long

They have a light copper brown head with a darker reddish-brown body.

They have 3 segments in the body and 10 in the antennae.

They also have large mandibles.

They nest underground and try to stay hidden under logs or trees etc.

However, there is a large mound as an entrance to the nest.

Fire Ants are very aggressive and orchestrate attacks on their prey or when threatened.

They bite and then deliver a sting which can kill small insects and cause a burning pain to humans.

They also create very large colonies and can eradicate some local species.

Fire Ants have 4 lifecycle stages:  (egg – larva – pupa – adult)

  • Queens can lay up to 1600 eggs per day and can live up to 7 years
  • Males mate with females but die soon after mating
Fire Ant

Funnel Ant

(Aphaenogaster)

Funnel Ants (Named this because of the mound shape at the enterance to the nest)

They are approx 3.5mm – 5mm long

They are dark brown in colour.

They have 4 segments in the body and 12 in the antennae

Funnel Ants live in soil and are usually discovered when they destroy your lawn.

They choose their location based on soil moisture, grass type & root aphids.

They are quite shy and often not seen, except for the mounded entries to their nests.

Funnel Ants, although not aggressive do have a sting.

They cause the most danger to humans by affecting the stability of the ground which can easily collapse when walked on.

These ants create super colonies and can spread across an entire property.

They feed mostly on underground root aphids and on the occasional insect that falls into the mounds.

Funnel Ants have 4 lifecycle stages:  (egg – larva – pupa – adult)

They mate in the air usually in the warmer months (starting in November)

It takes approx 50 – 60 days for funnel ants to grow from egg to adult.

Funnel Ant

Green Ant

(Aphaenogaster)

Green  Ants

They are approx 5mm – 6mm long

They are metallic green in colour.

There is a sting present in these ants

Green ants live in soil, and can be found in urban & rural areas.

Their nests are usually found in woodlands, grasslands & occasionally lawns or under rocks and / or logs.

They are wide spread accross Australia.

Green Ants rarely enter the home.

They have an attractive shiny green colour that can attract small insects for prey.

They mainly eat oils and proteins and sticky sap from aphids.

They are known for their painful sting which is administered when attached or startled.

Most species of Green Ants dont have queens.

The workers will mate and females can be produced.

Green Ant

Pharoah Ant

(Monomorium Pharaonis)

Pharoah ants are quite small approx 2mm long

They are yellow – light brown in colour

There is a stinger that works to generate pheromones

They have poor eyesight.

Pharoah Ants are found all over the world but are particularly dominant in America & Australia.

They are found mostly in urban areas where there are food sources. They like to nest inside strcutures like cracks in walls however in warmer climates they will nest outdoors as well.

Pharoah Ants have super colonies, although it might be easy to spot them, it may prove difficult to locate the nest.

This species doesnt swarm, however they can still infest an area quite easily.

These ants will not bite humans, however they can still cause harm by the spread of disease.

Pharoah Ants build large colonies with multiple queens.

Queens usually lay around 12 eggs at a time but can lay as many as 400.

Queens only live for 4-12 months.

Workers only live for a couple of months and usually die soon after mating.

The full life cycle only takes around 42 days.

Pharoahs Ant

Singapore Ant

(Trichomyrmex destructor)

Singapore ants range in size from 1.8mm – 3.5mm long

They are yellowish  – light brown in colour

The body has 3 segments and the antennae has 12 and a stinger

They have small eyes but a stong mandible

Singapore Ants are heavily populated in Australia.

They like to nest outdoors close to buildings, in cracks in walls & roofs, under rocks or beside paths.

They like the warmer weather.

Singapore Ants are very slow moving, they travel in long narrow trails.

They have a very broad diet, they will eat live or dead small insects, aphids, fats, proteins & sweets.

They have a very painful sting.

They are a pest mainly because of their chewing behaviour, they can cause damage to plastics, wiring, electrical cabling and more.

Singapore Ants build large colonies with multiple queens.

The pupa does not have cocoons.

Singapore Ant