Flying ants in the home are rarely a good sign and this is particularly true if they are seen indoors during the winter months.
We have been experiencing a strange mix of whether here in Adelaide for the last month. From cold and wet days, through to days where it’s dry and warm – this is having a strange effect on black ants.
We have seen a sharp increase in calls from our customers who experiencing these flying pests inside their homes, from Unley, Kings Park, Two Wells, to Gawler, Seaton, WestLakes, Belair, Paradise and Rostrevor.
Black ant Characteristics
Most ants that are found in homes nest outdoors and enter homes only to search for food or water or some where to live. Almost all ants are workers, wingless females that search for food and maintain the colony.
Do I have a black ant problem?
Finding a winged ant or two indoors during the summer does not necessarily mean there is a problem, but if winged ants are seen in the home during the winter months, there is a strong likelihood that there is a black ant nest within the structure.
Whether the sighted winged ant is a black ant or a termite, the wings depict the insect to be of a reproductive male or queen – the only members of an ant colony that can reproduce. Black ants and termites swarm to mate, after which the males die having fulfilled their life’s purpose and the queens drop their wings to seek a nesting site.
It is for this reason that black ants seen indoors during the summer may simply indicate that it has flown in from the outdoors, but is likely to die prior to finding an appropriate nesting site.
How do I get rid of flying black ants?
If the black ants have built their nest indoors, it is best treated with an insecticide. One option is the use of insecticidal dust labeled for black ants and for indoor household use. This product is injected into the area(s) in which the ants are nesting.
Another option is baits. Although baits are much slower acting, they can be easier and safer to use, as the foraging black ants will pick up the bait and carry it back to the colony and queen, eventually eliminating the entire colony.
Health issues and problems
Black ants not only cause a nuisance but pack a nasty bite if disturbed. They are not known to cause serious health issues, but if you or a member of your family are bitten, follow these basic First Aid steps:
- Wash with soap and water and apply an antiseptic if available
- Ensure that the patient’s tetanus vaccination is up to date
- Apply an ice-pack to reduce local pain and swelling
- Pain relief may be required eg. paracetamol or an antihistamine (to reduce swelling, redness and itch)
- The patient should seek medical advice if they develop any other symptoms or signs of infection.
For any patient who shows signs of anaphylaxis, call 000 for an ambulance, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
Products purchased from the supermarket or hardware stores are generally not effective in controlling black ants. These products are often costly and are not designed to correctly attack the biology of these pests.
You can help reduce black ant colonies at your home by following these simple tips:
- Remove sources of food and water from the outside area such as pet food and water bowls – clean and change these regularly.
- Seal gaps in window frames and door frames.
- Follow good hygiene practices in the kitchen – keep benches clean and remove garbage regularly.
This will reduce visitation of ants and help baits work more effectively.
If you believe or suspect that you have black ants, please contact Amalgamated Pest Control Adelaide for further advice.