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How to get rid of Black Garden Ants around the home

An ant hill in a garden

Have you noticed any ants scurrying across your home or in your garden yet? The weather is getting warmer, and so UK pests are emerging earlier every spring. Do you need to get rid of black garden ants in the home and garden? Here’s everything you need to know about one of the UK’s most common pests.

Ants are capable of settling almost anywhere in the UK as long as they’re near a steady source of food, darkness and shelter. Ant infestations usually settle just outside the home, but their resilience and size mean they could be anywhere. Front gardens, back gardens and cracked pavements just outside the home are classic ant hot spots. Don’t forget to check under concrete slabs and even inside wall cavities.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get rid of ants permanently?
    Ensure that there is no way for ants to get into your property. Ensure that there is no unattended pet food or bowls, crumbs on floors or uncovered foods. Use baited ant get to treat the whole colony.

  • What is the fastest way to get rid of ants?
    Ant cypermethrin sprays like NOPE! CP Ant Killer Spray kills ants on contact and leaves behind long-lasting barrier protection against ants.

  • How do I get rid of ants in my house?
    Walk the perimeter of your home. Ensure that there are no cracks in the brickwork or defects around the door and window seals that could let ants in. Try to keep exterior doors shut when you’re not walking through them.

  • Why do ants suddenly appear?
    A nearby ant colony has found a source of food in your home. These are often crumbs on kitchen floors or left-out pet food and water bowls. Try to keep these off the ground outside of feeding time and vacuum the kitchen floor regularly.

  • What will ants not cross?
    Ants cannot cross a cypermethrin barrier without dying. They will avoid it once the barrier has been established.

  • Are ants hard to get rid of?
    Ants can be hard to get rid of without the appropriate pest control measures. You can get rid of ants without too much trouble as long as you deploy a suitable pest control strategy.

  • How do you find an ant nest?

    Ants in your house can lead you to the nest. Follow them to see where they’re coming from. Look for small dirt mounds among the grass in your home.

  • Why not crush ants?
    You should never stomp on ants when you see them. Some ant species release pheromones into the air that will attract more ants to your location.

How to Identify Black Garden Ants

Black Garden Ant Close-up

Most of us picture Lasius Niger, commonly known as the Black Garden Ant, when we think about ants. They are identifiable by their black or dark brown colouring, long antennae, distinctive pincers, and are covered in tiny hairs. Each ant is around 5 mm long. Black Garden Ants are very common across the world. They prefer temperate climates like the UK’s.

They have no stingers and their jaws aren’t strong enough to attack humans, so they don’t pose much of a physical threat by themselves. Their strengths are in numbers!

Colonies average 5-7,000 ants. A few Black Garden Worker Ants wandering around are just the tip of the iceberg.

Queen Black Garden Ants can live over 25 years in exceptional cases. The average Black Garden Worker Ant lives for around 4 years. This means ants can be surprisingly resilient. A single queen can easily multiply into 35,000 ants if left alone with a regular food source!

How to find Ant Nests

Ants between tiles in garden

Ants also live in wooded areas away from human settlements. They enjoy settling in rotten wood and around felled trees.

Black Garden Ants build their nests near human habitats for one reason: food. This hunger leads them into the home in search of crumbs and water. And they definitely aren’t scared of us!

Search for ants around the garden, in between paving cracks and under rocks and stones. You may be able to spot dirt mounds at the entrance to their tunnels. Set bait traps near dirt mounds to reach the colony efficiently.

Ants are mini all-terrain vehicles; capable of taking advantage of the tiniest cracks to gain entrance into the home. Pay attention to door and window openings, We’re less likely to notice these seal faults in the warmer months, but they’re prime ways for ants to gain access into properties. Be sure to check for cracks in skirting boards too! Ants are attracted to standing bodies of water, so make sure boiler rooms, bathrooms and kitchens are leak-free.

Repair cracks in patio tiles out in the garden, and try to minimise mounds of rocks and stones. Black Garden Ants do not like sunlight and will do everything they can to hide close to the earth.

Ants’ main natural food source is Aphids. Aphids feed on sap from healthy foliage, so a lush and verdant garden can quickly attract ant colonies. These worker ants venture outside to gather food for the growing colony. The more well-fed they are; the stronger the colony.

Ants expand the nest by tunnelling deeper, expanding out into a lattice of hiding holes.

How ant colonies grow

Black Garden Ants

All ant nests start with a pair of winged males and females known as alates. Alates take part in nuptial flights between June/July and August/September. Females land after mating flights, remove their wings and burrow underground to form a nest.

Each Black Garden Ant only contains one Queen, but other ant species may contain more. The Queen lays hundreds of eggs that mature to become worker ants in two months. The colony’s first worker ants emerge in spring to scavenge food for the growing colony.

The Queen does not emerge from the nest unless the current colony becomes uninhabitable. Black Garden Ant Queens have larger mid-sections and the same black-brown colouring as Soldier Ants. Male and female alates resemble the Queen with the addition of a pair of large wings.

The Ant Queen is the single most important member of the nest. She is responsible for bringing the first generation of worker ants to maturity. These worker ants live to serve the Queen. They ensure she is protected and well-fed.

The nest’s foraging capabilities increase with the worker ant population. The Queen is the only member of the nest able to lay eggs and the colony will die out without her.

What ants eat

Black Garden Ants Swarming a sandwich

Ants aren’t picky. They live in symbiotic relationships in the wild with aphids. Black Garden Ants protect aphids in return for access to the honeydew they produce. Ants in our homes love sugary foods, grains and vegetables.

Crumbs on kitchen floors and uncovered bags of cereals and pasta are magnets for Black Garden Ants – keep floors clean and loose food packages tightly sealed to prevent attracting them. Always clean away uneaten pet food and never leave water bowls unattended for extended periods.

Black Garden Ants are capable of carrying many times their own body weight and work in teams to secure the most valuable cargo for the colony.

Ants are predominantly nocturnal, so it is very important not to leave out uncovered food overnight. In the garden, especially during summer, dropped ice lollies are huge ant attractants so make sure you mop up the melted bits!

Ants travel along specific routes around the home. A Worker Ant who successfully finds food lays a pheromone trail back to the nest. Other Ants follow this scent in search of more food! Knowing ant routes in and out of the property is a critical part of a successful pest control strategy.

The threat ants pose

Cross-section of an Ant Nest

Ants do not carry diseases in the same way that fleas do, but they can pick up bacteria through contact. A worker ant who finds its way into a bin, and then crawls across your kitchen will spread germs. That’s why we should always strive to keep our homes ant-free.

The first point of action is to ensure that ants cannot get into your property. Defects in windows, door seals, skirting boards, tiles and elsewhere in the home can let ants sneak in. Inspect all elements of the water system including the boiler. Undertake any repairs as soon as possible.

Always treat the entire ant colony at once. If you eliminate a few worker ants without dealing with the nest then the colony may decide to relocate to save themselves. Their new nest might be even closer than they already are!

Ants may even settle inside wall cavities. They can build their entire nest unseen within the comfort of your home.

A long-lasting, low toxicity spray like NOPE! CP can establish an invisible barrier that disrupts pheromone trails, kills on contact and keeps ants away.

But don’t stop there.

How to get rid of Black Garden Ants

NOPE! Ant Bait Stations contain a unique gel formula with a two-part formula to treat the whole colony. Part one consists of an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) that prevents eggs, larvae and pupae from growing into adults. Next, a pesticide delays eradication until the entire colony has the bait.

The gel stops the nest’s growth, targets the queen and destroys the colony over a period of weeks. The bait is designed to attract ants to maximise its uptake in the colony, so it may seem like it’s doing the opposite of what you want it to do: get rid of ants! Your patience will soon be rewarded as their numbers thin thanks to the pesticide present in the bait.

Now you know how to spot, prevent and treat Black Garden Ants around your home. When you see pests, just say NOPE!

For more information call
01403 210204