Knowing The Habits Of Australia’s Most Common Ants

Carpenter Ants in Perth

Australia gets a little bit of a bad rap for all the nasty critters that could put you down. Sharks, crocs, and funnel-web spiders all rank highly in lists of native-animals that could buy you one-way tickets to an early grave.

Thankfully, these bad boys often live far away from civilization, usually taking residence in nooks and crannies that most people won’t venture into.

It’s one thing to have critters out in the bushland or the ocean—but it’s a whole other game when they’re living in your house.

There’s nothing worse than a home Ant infestation, and there’s no more common and pervasive threat to a safe and comfortable home than the many species of ants that are present in almost every house.

Knowledge is power, so let’s explore some of the most common pest species that you’ll encounter, and learn about their habits.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a species that are commonly labelled as “big and black”—a rather accurate description, as worker carpenter ants can be around 12mm in length. Their name comes from their behaviour of chewing up wood, although they don’t actually eat the wood, they use it to build their nests. They’re most active from the evening until sunrise.

Carpenter ant nests are most commonly found in empty spaces within wood structures. These nests are either naturally occurring spaces and fissures, or artificially dug out by the worker ants through areas of wood that have been weakened.

The key to eliminating a carpenter ant infestation is to find their nest and cover it in pesticide to kill the queen and all her workers. This may prove difficult because of their nesting location, but you can find some clues that will lead you right to the nest.

You can trace moving worker ants in the evening with a flashlight and see where they’re headed. You could also check doors with hollow spaces, wooden areas in your home that are prone to moisture, and spaces between wood insulation. If you suspect that the nest is outside, you can check rotting logs or tree stumps, and other derelict wooden structures.

Pharaoh Ant

Despite their majestic-sounding name, Pharaoh ants are pretty small, at just around 1.5mm long. They’re somewhat translucent and have a yellow or brownish tinge to them.

Pharaoh ants can have large colonies with several queens living within. Colonies send out workers on long-distance journeys to forage for food. They usually prefer sweets, fats, and protein-based foods. They can break out into satellite colonies and further expand the reach of their infestation.

Pharaoh ants use pheromone trails to communicate and find their way back to their nests. Like carpenter ants, they can be found in wooden voids, but they also generally prefer dark and warm areas, such as trash bins, around piping that carries hot water, empty spaces in concrete, and under heavy objects that are rarely disturbed.

The principal pest control method to address a pharaoh ant problem is to use bait. You need to take into account their preference for sugar, fat, and protein when you select your bait, and you should choose a slow-acting one that will allow the ants to survive long enough to take it back to their nest.

Sugar Ants

Sugar ants are native to Australia, are well-known for their preference for sugary and otherwise sweet food. They can vary widely in size, ranging from 5 to 15mm long, due to their colonies having major and minor castes of workers that have their own size ranges.

Sugar ant colonies are often found buried in earth, below rocks, and in voids in wood. Their workers sometimes venture out and attack other nests, using sprays of potent formic acid to kill other ants.

To avoid a sugar ant infestation, make sure that you clean out your kitchen and dining tables regularly, ensuring that no sweet or sugary residue remains. Don’t forget to take out the trash regularly, as sugar ants may discover it and set up shop.

Bulldog Ants

Bulldog ants are gigantic creatures that can grow all the way to 40mm in length. They have huge, distinct eyes that give them amazing vision, and have extremely painful and toxic bites. They’re definitely an infestation that you want to get rid of as soon as you see them.

Bulldog ants are very aggressive and often jump at intruders. Their nests are often located underground, extending several meters into the earth, making them hard to detect.

Fire Ants  

The famously annoying fire ants are just 2 to 6mm in length, but pack a terrifying punch with a painful bite that could require medical attention. They’re often red or light brown in colour which adds another layer to their evocative name.

Fire ants usually form nests in soil, or under large heavy objects that aren’t moved often. You’ll often find nests near moist areas like ponds or lawns.

Protect Your Home With A Pest Inspection From The Pest Guys

These nasty ants are no joke, and if you find an infestation, you oughta get rid of it as soon as possible. The clearance requires plenty of effort and investigation just to locate their nest, and deploying pest control methods like poison or even just bait can be time-consuming. It’s also potentially dangerous, as these poisons could be dangerous to humans as well, especially if accidentally ingested.

The best way to handle an ant infestation is to call the experts—and that’s where we come in. Call The Pest Guys for a free, no-strings-attached survey and appraisal of your ant problem. We’ll tell you exactly what we need to do in order to get the job done. We’ll also provide a quote for our services.

With over a decade of experience in pest control, and a creative problem-solving approach to infestation management, The Pest Guys are the best guys for the job.