Judging by the way our phones are currently ringing, one could easily be led to believe black ants are taking over Noosa. We have treated numerous houses with ant trails over an inch wide and streaming along every footpath, house wall, fence railing and basically any straight edge leading from the house to the garden. The reason behind this population explosion lies within the biology of the culprit ant species and our recent climatic conditions.
This ant species is commonly known as the White-footed House Ant Technomyrmex sp. and as its name suggests, it has evolved or adapted to live within our homes. This species of ant can easily be identified even by homeowners simply by blowing on them, when they feel our breath on them they have a unique behaviour of running around in circles while raising their “bums” in the air. Not only is this species a multi-nesting species but it will have multiple queens within each nest. And rather than putting all its energies and resources into excavating a nest in the ground as most native ant species do, the White-footed House Ant will focus its efforts on reproducing and setting up makeshift camps wherever it can find a tight space or void. Wall cavities, roof cavities, drawers, stacked goods, even computer printers and DVD cases make ideal nest sites. The only limiting factor for these ants becomes available food resources, although being opportunistic White-footed House Ants primary food source is honeydew which is a byproduct produced by sap-sucking plant pests such as mealybug, scale and aphids. As gross as it sounds the ants actually “farm” these pests to harvest their excretions. This becomes their staple and anything they find within your kitchen is a bonus.
The mild humid temps we are currently experiencing, along with our love of susceptible plants such as golden cane palms are ideal conditions for mealy bugs. Ants and golden cane palms go pretty much hand in hand! The constant streams of ants are simply the ants balancing out their resources between the food source and the multiple nests.
For these reasons, White-footed House Ant numbers can reach massive numbers and often extend the entire block or street. So, unfortunately, supermarket or hardware store-bought products just aren’t going to cut it and can often make the problem worse by fragmenting or locking the activity within the house. When an ant colony reaches this sort of number it’s often time to engage the services of a professional pest manager that specializes in ant control. Laguna Pest Control is your local company specializing in ant management.