Ants are social insects that can be a considerable nuisance pest when they enter the home and can be a significant biodiversity pest when exotic species are introduced to vulnerable habitats such as found in New Zealand.
Identify the problem
Ants are social insects that can form colonies of many thousands of individuals. Foraging worker ants will search for food and are often found in trails running into homes, particularly kitchens and larders where they find and contaminate food. Ants form nests in dry, warm, underground spaces outside, often below paving, concrete, driveways, stones etc. Occasionally the nest will be within the fabric of a building but this is less likely.
Flying Ants - Often referred to as alates, ants with wings are the female queens and male ants who grow wings, take the air for a nuptial flight to reproduce, and start new colonies. This happens in the form of swarms that can be of significant numbers. Read more.
To get rid of ants follow these simple steps:
- Search > Find the ant nest sites. In most cases ant nests will be in warm, dry sandy soil, often under a rock, paving stone, driveway etc. where the nest is kept dry. On warm days search for a stream of worker ants going back and forth into a hole in the ground. It may be possible to drop bread crumbs in their path and then watch the ants carry the crumbs back the nest. Do not treat this entrance with insecticide yet.
Now carry out the Kiwicare 1-2-3 Bait-Barrier-Destroy program.
- Kill the queens > Use many small amounts of NO Ants Nest Killer Gel Bait or NO Ants Liquid Bait where you see ants or have seen them in the past. If the gel is not being taken, try the liquid bait and vice versa. Workers feed on the bait and take it back to the nest to feed and kill the queen(s) and larvae. Replenish the bait regularly until you see no more (or very few) insects feeding. Only then should you use spray insecticide to eradicate the nests and to act as a barrier to further infestation. Ants are very sensitive to strong chemicals. All dishes or containers used to hold bait should be rinsed well with clean water and dried before use. A great alternative is to use a strip of masking tape and squeeze the bait on top. The tape will hold the bait in place and can be easily removed. .
- Stop them with barriers > NO Ants Barrier Spray, NO Bugs Indoor and NO Bugs Super surface sprays will kill ants that cross the treated surfaces but will also act as a barrier; many species of ant will avoid the treated surfaces if possible. It is best to think of sprays used in and around the home as barriers. Sprinkle PLANThealth Insect Hit Granules or LawnPro Lawnguard Granules in flowerbeds, drives and gravel pathways in a ring around the home. When watered in it penetrates the soil killing nests and acting as a ‘curtain’ barrier
- Deny them a nest site > Brush NO Ants Ant Sand into the cracks and crevices in paving and driveways to kill nests and prevent ants using these nest entrances.
Did You Know
The nests of some species will co-operate and can be regarded as a super colony.
Ant colonies contain at least 3 castes (some have a fourth caste of soldier ants):
Queens > which are fertilised females after the wings are cast off
Males > short lived often with wings to take part in nuptial flights with females that become queens
Workers > usually sterile females comprising the bulk of the colony.
Foraging workers that you may see out seeking food are usually only about 5% of the colony, so controlling the ants you see with insecticide is only temporary and should only be done after controlling the nest with baits.
Invasive ants such as Argentine ants are more than just a nuisance pest. They are also a threat to New Zealand's biodiversity as they attack and eliminate other insects and invertebrates when they move into a new area. We are at risk of bringing biting ants such as red imported fire ant into New Zealand. There have been three incursions of Fire Ants in New Zealand since 2001 but these have been successfully eradicated by MAF Biosecurity.
As nuisance pests ants can cause electrical and electronic faults when they get into equipment such as switch gear, exchanges and computers, they can contaminate food stuffs, and damage garden plants.
Ant colonies will often combine during Winter and separate again in Summer. During Midsummer - late Autumn, swarms of winged males and females of many species take off on nuptial flights. After their nuptials the ants fall to the ground, the males perish and the fertilised females, now queens, cast their wings and crawl off in search of locations for the establishment of new colonies. Ants evolved from early wasps and the similarity is most noticeable when the ants have wings.
Scientific names of important pest ants in New Zealand:
Stick masking tape on delicate surfaces and then apply bait onto the masking tape. This protects the surface and allows easy removal.
Some ants 'farm' aphids and scale insects for sweet secretions and it worth treating your plants with suitable garden insecticides to control these sap-sucking plant pests and deny the ants their food supply.
LawnPro Lawnguard Granules or PLANThealth Insect Hit Granules are useful in areas of garden where ants are a nuisance and as an additional barrier around a house or other building. The granules are sprinkled onto soil and gravel surfaces where ants are travelling and then watered in to take the insecticide deep into the soil, forming a curtain barrier.
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I would just like to say that we are just so happy with the response we have got from your product. This is certainly no fabricated story, we have been absolutely plagued with the ants and so thrilled to have had such wonderful success in the eradication of them. It is so easy to complain when things don't work to ones satisfaction, and often compliments are not given when they are due. Felt that I just wanted to share a success story and how pleased we are with your product and of the incredible response we have had.
When they show their faces, we use your NO Ant paste (Gel) to get rid of them. The product is easy to use and is not offensive to the nose. Unfortunately, I don't know the species of ant we are using your product on. They are ordinary regular sized ants. I occasionally have problems with very tiny ants in our house (located in the same locale), and the product works wonders with them as well.
The product is a good one with nothing to hide.