Ants belong to the Hymenoptera family. They are socially living, state forming insects. An ant state usually consists of a number strongly specialized individuals, due to their work.
These are infertile female versions. Their duty is to provide the state with food. These workers cause us nuisance in their quest for food. Once a worker has found a rich food source, she alerts the other workers to it, who will then find the source via a track specified by the worker, to offer help in collecting the food found. This is how the ant rows exist. They give away the direction in which the ant nest is to be found, which is useful in ant control. In addition to providing food, the workers have to take care of the queen and the offspring.
One or multiple queens
These are fertile female individuals whose primary task it so preserver their species. They lay the eggs. In general, the queen doesn’t leave the nest once the state is formed. The queens are considerably larger than the workers.
Males and young queens.
All versions are winged. They ensure the preservation of the species and the founding of new colonies. In garden ants (Lasius-species) they are present in the nest from July until September. In favourable weather conditions, they fly out; the so-called bridal flight. During the flight, they are inseminated. Then, the males die. The fertilized females seek a suitable place and try to found a new colony in the spring.
Certain ant species also have soldiers. These are infertile female ants that distinguish themselves from the workers through their extra big jaws; their task is the defend the nest against intruders. Solders do not exist in garden ants.
Ant control should only be initiated when these insects actually cause a nuisance in the buildings. In general, this nuisance is exaggerated; a couple of ants wandering around won’t hurt anyone and won’t cause any damage. However, once these insects have made a nest from which they keep entering a house or building, ant control may be necessary from a hygienic perspective. In gardens, parks and forests, ants are useful, because they eliminate all kinds of harmful insects. Getting rid of ant nests at such places with the help of insecticides usually involves a lot of damage. It doesn’t just kill the ants, it can also poison a lot of other insects, mammals and birds. It threatens to unnecessarily disrupt the entire natural living environment.
Garden ant species (genus Lasius)
The garden ants that can settle under or near buildings usually belong to the following species:
The black garden ant (Lasius niger L.)
Black-brown to black ants.
The queen is dark brown The male versions are dark to black-brown with crystal clear wings.
The carpenter ant (Lasius fuliginosus Latr.)
These are shiny black ants The male versions have partially brown smoky wings. This ant has a strongly aromatic smell, especially when crushed between the fingers.
The large yellow meadow ant (Lasius umbratus Nijl.) These are yellow ants. The queen is red-brown, the male are brown to dark-brown. The wings are smokey-brown at the base. The brown ant (Lasius brunneus Latr.)
Yellow-brown to red-brown ants, with a significantly darker coloured head and abdomen. The queen is light or dark black-brown The males are black-brown with smoky wings. In our country this species if fairly rare, except in Limburg.
To prevent attracting the ants from outside, food that is appealing to them, such as preserves, sugar etc, should be stored in properly sealed pots or canisters. Don’t leave the dirty dishes out during the night. Waste bins should be kept properly closed. The couple of ants that manage to get in can be removed using the vacuum cleaner.
Outdoor ant control: (only in the immediate vicinity of buildings)
Garden ant control can be carried out in various ways where necessary, based on the circumstances. One can use insecticides in this. We will point out a number of substances that are suitable for this goal. We stress that the insecticides mentioned hereinafter are poisonous, including for people and pets. The directions on the label of the substance to be used, must therefore be closely followed.
When detecting garden ants in buildings, one must first track down the nest. Because the nests are often outside of the buildings, outdoor ant control is preferred, rendering the use of substances indoor unnecessary.
One must treat the nest entrances with an insecticide in powder form, for instance based on propoxur, pyrethrinen, or foxim. The powdered nest entrances can best be covered to prevent children, pets or birds coming into contact with it. When this treatment had been carried out this way, the ants will take the powder into the nest with their legs and hairs, effectively eliminating the queens and the offspring. When you are unable to find the nest entrances or are unable to access them, you can apply a little powder on the ant rows. However, this leads to significantly less results and this method is ill-advised in the house.
Carpenter ant control
One should always first track down the nest. Often, these are abandoned tree trunks that are sometimes found under new construction. The nest must be removed where possible, where applicable after extermination measures carried out. In addition, the same control measures can be applied as with the other Lasius species.