Ants can be pretty fascinating creatures, but they’re also a pest. No one wants hoards of insects crawling around their home, and ants are particularly problematic because they can walk on virtually any surface. That means they can get onto your kitchen worktops and crawl on your food.
Ants are one of the top pests in London during the summer. Southwark, Hackney and Tower Hamlets in particular had a large number of callouts in 2010-11. Some varieties of ant are more difficult to remove than others, so it’s important to consult the professionals before dealing with them.
What varieties of ants are found in London?
By far the most common ant in the UK is the black garden ant (Lasius niger). These are around 4mm long, and are attracted into our homes by sweet, sticky foodstuffs.
Red or fire ants (Myrmica rubra) are another well known UK species, and they have a nasty sting. These are around 3mm long and red brown in colour. As with other insect stings, some people are allergic to red ants and in severe cases this can lead to anaphylaxis and death. For most people, the stings are painful and itchy, but not serious.
One of the most problematic species in London is the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis). This tropical species lives in centrally heated buildings and is difficult to remove. They’re a little smaller than black ants (around 2mm) and are a translucent yellow brown. They’ve been reported to spread germs like salmonella.
‘Flying ants’ can actually be any one of several species. Ants mate on the wing, and in late summer the males and queens grow them for this very purpose.
How can I get rid of them?
Ants are social creatures, and individuals in the colony have different jobs. If you see a handful of ants in your kitchen, it’s likely they’re scouts looking to see if there’s any food around. It’s a good idea to seal all your food away and give surfaces and floors a good clean. Be aware that those jam jars in the recycling might not be completely clean.
If you can find out where the ants are getting into the house, you could try sealing the entrance. Ants are tiny though, so it may be difficult to keep them out entirely. You could also try putting out foods which ants can’t digest, like semolina. This is reported to expand in their stomachs and kill them. Borax washing powder works, too.
However, for all but the smallest problem, we’d recommend you get in touch. Getting rid of garden ants is difficult enough, but pharaoh ants have a tendency to break up into new colonies if they’re threatened. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, you might make the situation worse.
Ant Pest Control
Our pest controllers have a good knowledge of ant behaviour, and can help with all sorts of infestations in and around the home. Garden ants often require two treatments to handle the problem, as young ants can hatch and reproduce after our initial visit. Pharaoh ants may need three or more treatments as we will need to use an ‘insect growth regulator’ to stop them reproducing.
If you have ants around the place, give us a call. We’ll get rid of them for you as quickly and efficiently as possible.