There are an estimated 22,000 different species of ants worldwide; fortunately the vast majority of these are not present within the British Isles. Of the 60 or so species to be found within the British Isles, there are few that are commonly a pest species. Rest assured that Dead Cert Pest Control can offer an effective and tailor made package for every situation.

Black/Garden Ant (Lasius Niger)

The black garden ant is found all over Europe and in some parts of North America and Asia. It is monogynous, meaning colonies have a single queen. Lasius niger colonies can reach in size up to around 15,000 workers but 4,000–7,000 is around average. A black ant queen can live for around 12 years. Ants mate on the wing, so "flying ants" may be males or immature queens. Mating / nuptial flights of black ant usually occur around June to September. Black ants have 4 stages of development egg, larva, cocoon and adult. 

This type of ant is a problem for some gardeners. They will farm aphids for the honeydew they excrete by bringing them inside the nest and bringing them back out again when necessary. The ants will also eat ripe fruits, especially fruits like strawberries that lack a thick protective skin. Often they can be found on discarded chewing gum. Lasius niger also feed on insects and spiders, and other small invertebrates. Black garden ants often explore their surroundings quite extensively during early summer months in an effort to increase the food supply to their queen and her young, and also as a way of testing new ground in preparation for the nests' summer flight. In some cases, these explorations lead to a burrowing through mortar and brick.

Pharaohs Ant (Monomorium Pharaonis)

The Pharaoh ant is a small (2 mm) yellow or light brown, almost transparent ant notorious for being a major indoor nuisance pest, especially in hospitals. The origin of this ant is uncertain, although favoured proposals include West Africa and Indonesia. The Pharaoh ant has been introduced to virtually every area of the world including Europe, the Americas, Australasia and South-east Asia. Pharaoh ants are a tropical species but they thrive in buildings anywhere, even in temperate regions provided central heating is present. The Pharaoh ant is polygynous, meaning its colonies contain many queens (up to 200). An individual colony normally contains 1,000–2,500 workers but a high density of nests gives the impression of massive colonies. Colonies also lack nest mate recognition so there is no hostility between neighbouring colonies, which is known as unicoloniality.  Colonies proliferate by "budding" (also called "satelliting" or "fractionating"), where a subset of the colony including queens, workers and brood (eggs, larvae and pupae) leave the main colony for an alternative nest site. Budding is a major factor underlying the invasiveness of Pharaoh ants. A single seed colony can populate a large office block, almost to the exclusion of all other insect pests, in less than six months. Elimination and control are made difficult because multiple colonies can also consolidate into smaller colonies and "weather the storm" of a baiting programme only to repopulate when baiting is withdrawn. Pharaoh ants are a major hazard in hospitals, where their small size means they can access wounds, drip lines, and instrumentation, causing the spread of infection and electrical interference.

Pharaoh ants have become a serious pest in hospitals, rest homes, apartment dwellings, hotels, grocery stores, food establishments and other buildings. They feed on a wide variety of foods including jellies, honey, shortening, peanut butter, corn syrup, fruit juices, baked goods, soft drinks, grease, dead insects, toothpaste and even shoe polish. They can also gnaw holes in silk, rayon and rubber goods.

Because of this species' ability to bud when the colony is stressed it is highly recommended that amateurs do not attempt to tackle an infestation themselves, rather call Dead Cert Pest Control who will instigate an effective eradication program.

Ghost Ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum)

So called due to it's translucent abdomen and small size (1.5mm). The ghost ant's diet consists mainly of sweets but they will also feed on grease and occasionally living or dead insects. They exhibit a high need for moisture, and although colonies are usually established outside, they can readily "set up camp" inside domestic houses during dry conditions.This is a widespread tropical species, found throughout the world. Its native range is unknown.The ghost ant is thought to be so named because the legs and abdomen of the insect look transparent, with only the head and thorax being dark brown in colour. Observed in infested buildings with the naked eye they are quite difficult to distinguish from Pharaoh ants, being virtually of the same size.Like a lot of small insects a positive identification can only be made once is a specimen is looked at through a microscope.The worker ants form trails like Pharaoh ants, taking food back to the nest, and also like Pharaoh ants, the queens are communal, so that there can be several queens in a colony, and several thousand workers. New colonies can be formed when a queen and some workers migrate away.

Again, like the Pharaohs ant, attempts at amateur control will usually result in a spreading of the infestation; it is therefore recommended that you immediately contact Dead Cert Pest Control for a solution to your problem!

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