Ants

Last Updated:

The council does not provide a treatment for ants, however, the following information may help you.

Black ants (lasius niger) are the ants that are most often the cause of complaints because they are widely found throughout the UK. They usually nest outdoors, but often find their way inside houses causing a nuisance rather than a danger to health.

They are social creatures and live in large colonies, containing workers (infertile females), males, queens and grubs (larvae). Ants mate on the wing, so flying ants are either males or immature queens.

Where do they come from?

The ants found indoors are usually worker ants, which are foraging for food for the queen and grubs. They are attracted to our food, particularly sweet or sugary items.

Do black ants just live on human food?

No, the worker ants are scavengers and collect seeds, nectar, even dead insects to take back to the nest. They also prey on greenfly, blackfly and other small insects, so cannot be considered all bad.

Do black ants do any harm?

Although it is unpleasant and a nuisance to find a large number of them in your home, black ants do not transmit any serious diseases.

However, you should remember that ants may have travelled through dirty or unpleasant places during their foraging and before entering your home. This means that they can contaminate food, making it unsuitable to eat.

How do I get rid of them?

The cheapest, but not necessarily the most effective way of dealing with an ant's nest is to pour boiling water onto the nest. This will certainly control the problem, but may only be a short term solution.

Another way of eliminating ants is to buy a household insecticide which you should apply on and around the nest and at possible entry points into your house. Entry points will include doors, windows, cracks in walls, even waste pipes. Remember for your own safety follow the manufacturers' instructions on the pack.

This again may only be a short term answer, because of the low dosages allowed in domestic insecticides and the vast number of ants there may be in a single colony, which are difficult to eradicate with a single treatment.