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Black Garden Ant

Common Name:Black Ant
Scientific Name:Lasius Niger

Introduction:There are many thousands species of ants known to man. The most common ant in Britain is the black garden ant otherwise known as the Common Black Ant which prefers a diet of sweet food. We usually see them in our gardens, around the walls, underneath stones, pavement, buildings and sometimes in our kitchen. Common black ants have a well design social structure. Usually the ants that we see in search of food are the worker ants and infertile female ants.

Recognition: The garden ants are dark brown or black in colour and about 3-5mm long. The common black ant or garden ants has a broad spectrum of food but they prefer sweet foods. One foraging worker ant is able to communicate to her co-workers about a possible meal, shortly after a vast number of worker ants will be invading the food source. This can become a nuisance.

Biology:Egg>Lava>Pupa>Adult. Every nest has only one queen and all the eggs are being laid by her. The nest may survive for many years, but young queens and matured males leave the nest as" flying ant" in order to mate and start their own colony. Mating of black ants takes place during warm summer days of July and August. This swarm of ants often occurs when many nest at the same time in the afternoon and can be seen flying around which last a few hours. The mating occurs on the wing and eventually the ants will settle after being exhausted. After mating the male dies and the newly fertilised queens will create a cell for her new colony. The newly fertilised females will lay her first set of eggs in late spring which takes about three to four weeks for hatching. When hatched, the ant larvae are white and legless; the female feeds them with nourishing secretions from her salivary glands. It takes about 3 weeks in order for full grown larvae to pupate. The pupa (nickname) "ant eggs" will developed in 2 weeks into a full grown ant. This first generation of worker ants will take on their duties of foraging for food such as dead insects, seeds, nectar and sugary substance etc. The queen spends all her time in the nest laying eggs and tending to her young. The workers are also responsible for rearing the young or larvae and keeping the nest clean, removing any dead ants or debris. The black garden ant workers are about 3-5 mm long, and despite its name is dark brown in colour. The black garden ant queen is around 15mm long and mid brown in colour.

Habits: Common black ants are very active at all times of the day in search of food. When ant colonies are formed in close proximity, one female will assume dominance and will kill the other female to take over her colony. They will travel a considerable distance in search of a suitable food supply marking their trail along the way and communicating with other ants by tapping them with their antennae. Outdoors worker ants will excavate the soil in order to make it a suitable home for them to breed and live.

Potential Harm: The common black ant is not known to transmit any serious diseases. They can be a problem for gardeners as they will farm aphids (small plant feeding insect) for the honeydew (sugar rich substance); they then carry them into their nest and carry them back out again when necessary. Black garden ants will also eat fruits. Since they are likely to crawl on unpleasant materials, they can contaminate food stuff especially sweet foods.

Control: Insecticide and baiting formulation can be used for controlling common black ants. Particular attention should be given to air vents, doors, windows and cracks and crevices. Proof or seal all entry points. Call today for more about London pest control or to arrange for pest exterminators in London.