Sometimes, we consider the things around us to be pests without knowing anything about them and what they have to add to the environment and ecosystem. Before you call for help from pest control, here are a few facts about ants:
- Every colony has a queen, who is the egg layer of the colony.
- There are over 12,000 different species of ants in the world.
- When looking for food, ants usually secrete chemicals, called pheromones, along their tracks so that they know which places they have visited and which they have not.
- Queen ants shed their wings when they start a new nest.
- Ants do not have a lung-based respiratory system and rather breathe in and out through pores all over their body.
- Many queen ants can live for years and years and have loads of offspring.
- The queens are a vital part of the colony and when one dies the rest of the colony only lives for a few months longer. The colony faces difficulties because queen ants are difficult to replace, and without the queen, workers cannot reproduce.
It is critical to remember that no matter how much of a pest ants can be, they are there to help the environment. They are a vital part of the ecosystem. This makes it extremely critical to get any ant infestations sorted by a Pest Control company, as they can deal with the issue in the most eco-friendly way possible.
Ants are social insects, meaning they cannot live alone or solitarily and have to live in large colonies or groups. Depending on the type of species, a colony can grow to have up to 1 million ants in it. In a colony there are three different types of ants.
The first and most important ant is the queen ant. The queen has two roles that are more significant than any other. At first, her main purpose is to begin creating a new colony. After mating, a newly hatched queen will leave her birth colony and find a nearby open site to construct her nest and plant her first bundle of eggs. Once the first batch of larvae have matured, the queen ant enters her next and most critical phase – she begins laying eggs. She does not stop for the rest of her life. Some queen ants lay millions of eggs in their lifetime.
This role is significant because she is the only female in the colony that can lay eggs. The next type of ant in a colony is a female worker ant. These wingless ants are nonreproductive and have the sole purpose of performing general jobs in the colony such as looking after the young. The worker ants typically live between one and five years. The third type of ant in a colony is a male ant whose job it is to mate with the queen. After mating, male ants do not have much longer to live.
How ants can become pests
It is best to contact a pest control company when ants start to become a problem. Ants can start to become problematic mainly when they’re looking for food and water in buildings and when they start settling their nest in people’s homes and gardens. Ants are attracted to a large range of kitchen and home products and different species prefer different types of tastes and things. Some ant species prefer sweets, while others prefer meats and oils. This means that you can never be too safe when there are ants around your home.
When ants find something that they are interested in, they often call all of their friends and fellow colony members to join them in foraging for this item. An abundant number of ants can appear out of nowhere and an ant infestation can actually happen overnight which is why pest control should be contacted ASAP.
Ants tend to build their nest in many different spaces around homes and gardens including in potted plants, enclosed and fenced areas, around drains, inside walls and laid foundations, inside pre-existing cavities, rotten wood or other holes caused by damage. Around the garden, ants are usually found nested in soil and between bricks of pavement and driveways. In most cases, there is minimal damage to property, but in some cases, certain species form huge chambers close to the surface of the garden. These chambers can become so big and uncontrollable that they can result in soil and land becoming soft and uneven. This causes major damage to properties where the surface area of the garden plays a major role (such as a golf course or a farm).
Some ant species pose even more severe threats by chewing their way through electrical wiring. Some ants will often eat their way through the insulation of wires, causing damage and leading to the need for extreme maintenance. This maintenance can often cost thousands of rands that can be avoided by making use of [est control services.
There are also certain species of ants that can cause serious health risks to people that are allergic to their stings. It is therefore extremely imperative to act fast if you suspect that you may be experiencing an ant infestation. Here are a few tips and things to look out for if you think you may have an ant infestation:
- Look out for gaps and holes forming between the bricks in your driveways and sidewalks. In some worst-case scenarios, bricks may become uneven and wobbly in your driveways.
- Look out for ants in your fruit bowl, bread bin, fridge and even your vegetable drawers. Ants can find their way into the smallest of crevices.
- Keep an eye out for sand heaps around the foundations of walls in your house. Sand heaps will usually pile close to cracks in these areas.
Ant farms are a very effective way to study ant behaviour and it is a fun, interactive way for children to learn about ants.
Let’s build an ANT FARM – an incredible activity that can get the whole family involved and can teach you all about ants, their behaviour, their daily activities, and the types of ants in the colony.
Ants are extremely incredible creatures and, similar to humans, build communities and work together to achieve goals that will help them survive. Building an ant farm is a fun and simple task that can be done with things that you already have at home. By observing the ants and their activities during the process, you will learn so much about them that you did not know before.
Here is an easy method that you can follow to build an awesome ant farm!
The things you will need:
- One fairly large glass jar (Consol jar) with a drillable lid;
- A smaller glass jar (that can fit into the big one);
- A container for collecting ants;
- Ants from your garden or home infestation (ask pest control Cape Town if they can leave a few ants behind for you in your container);
- A 1:1 ratio mixture of sand and soil;
- Sugar, honey, breadcrumbs or crumbs from biscuits/rusks etc.;
- A piece of sponge.
The things you will have to do:
- Use a sharp tool to make holes in the lid of your large jar. These holes need to be smaller than the size of your ants to prevent them from escaping.
- Put the smaller jar into the large jar and fill the space between the jars with the sand and soil mixture that you made. The ants will only move around in this mixture, so the smaller jar is used to keep the ants closer to the side of the big jar ant farm. This is useful if you want to be able to observe the movements of the ants.
- Place your honey, sugar and crumbs in your collecting container and put your container close to the nest of the ant infestation that you have found. Allow at least 100 ants to gather in your container. If you could get the queen and colony in your container, it would be a bonus. Having a queen on your ant farm will change the dynamic of the farm completely.
- Gently tip the collected ants into the jar from the container. This might take a little bit of extra time and patience. Try using honey and sugar to persuade the ants to enter the jar if they are being a bit stubborn.
- Add some extra honey, sugar or crumbs on top of the small jar. Because the ants are not out in the wild anymore, they are having to rely on you for food. This will have to be done regularly.
- Wet the sponge with water and add it on top of the small jar too. Always make sure that the sponge is damp to satisfy the ants’ water needs.
And there you have it! You have built your very own ant farm. Over the next couple days, you will witness your ants burrowing tunnels in the sand-soil mixture that you have provided. Keep checking to make sure that they can dig tunnels in this mixture and that it isn’t too dense. You might notice the ants selecting a certain area in the jar for nesting and resting and building a tunnel system that leads them to their feeding areas. All the ants in the jar will work together to make this an optimal living space for themselves.
If you have managed to get a queen ant into the farm, observe how the rest of the worker ants work hard to look after her. If you are struggling to spot her, look out for an ant that is around three times the size of the worker ants. If you give her a bit of time, you might see her laying eggs too!
Aside from building an ant farm, there are many home remedies that you may find on the Internet. These home remedies suggest the most effective ways of getting rid of ants in your home. However, if you suspect that you might have an ant infestation, it is highly recommended that a eco-friendly professional is contacted via one of the many pest control Cape Town options, immediately. These professionals understand how to eliminate the effects of pests without disrupting the ecosystem in which they live.
Make sure to call the Pest Managers Pest Control as soon as you start to suspect that you may have an ant infestation to avoid the threatening effects that they can have on your property.