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Key Features of Ants:
The commonest species that invades UK houses is the Black Garden Ant, which is actually very dark brown. The worker ants, which are likely to enter properties when foraging for food, are 3 to 5mm in length.
All ants have the main divisions of the body (head, thorax and abdomen) distinctly separated by very narrow waists. They also have a sharp elbow joint in their antennae.
Biology of Ants:
Ants are highly organised social insects, with each nest being centred around one reproductive female, the queen, and her sterile daughters, the workers. It is the foraging workers that invade buildings in search of sweet foodstuffs, which they take back to the nest to feed the larvae and queen.
“Flying ants” are the reproductive males and females – the potential queens. They have a nuptial swarming flight during a few days in July and August, typically just after stormy weather. The males die shortly after mating and the females seek out nesting sites to build new colonies in the following spring.
Distribution of Ants:
Black Ants are common throughout Europe, Asia, northern Africa and North America.
Significance of Ants:
Black Ants usually nest in soil but can also be found living under paving stones and concrete. They can become real nuisance pests because during foraging, the workers may enter domestic, commercial and industrial premises – particularly food preparation areas – in search of sweet foodstuffs.