Ant-Circle

Ants

Overview


As children and even adults we admire ants for their industry and doggedness in ensuring the survival of their colony. These exact qualities which can make ants such a pest when they are in the wrong place.

Often they appear out of nowhere and at the most inopportune time, invading bins, school bags, left overs and practically anything which has a food value.

For most people as long as they are not in their homes or in the immediate surrounds they are happy to leave these small and often misunderstood creatures alone.

Fortunately in Australia most of our Ant species are more annoying then menacing.

Ants perform many necessary tasks which help keep the natural balance.

When they are in our homes or businesses however they cease being a curiosity and can be pest we battle with sometimes constantly.

Treatment Options


The start of any treatment process is to correctly identify the species which is causing the problem. All Pest Bully technicians are trained to correctly identify the species infesting your home or business.

In this way we can apply the correct strategy to solve your pest problem.

Nowadays there are a lot of safer and less non target impacting treatments available which can be species or group specific.

Treatments include baits and control sprays. The method employed will depend on your specific needs.

Common Types


Coastal Brown Ants

Scientific Name

Pheidole megacephala

Overview

pheidole-megacephala-nest

The Coastal Brown Ant, sometimes also called the Big-headed Ant, is an introduced species that is common in urban and agricultural areas.

It usually nests in the ground with nest entrances in the open or under rocks and logs or between pavers. Piles of loose soil are thrown up around nest entrances. It can also nest indoors, in crevices in brickwork, wall cavities, behind skirtings and architraves.

This species does not sting. It can be a nuisance pest in the garden and may enter houses to forage. It has a varied diet but prefers food of animal origin (protein and fats) to sweet foods. However, workers will tend sap-sucking insects for honeydew.

This ant is normally associated with human disturbance but has invaded native bushland in some areas. For example, it has infested monsoonal rainforest patches in the Northern Territory and some coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef. When this occurs the ant can build up to enormous populations and displace native ant species and affect other invertebrates.

Distribution

The Coastal Brown Ant is the commonly found in Brisbane. It is also found along the eastern seaboard and other City's like Darwin, Perth and other inland townships.

Identification

This light brown species is dimorphic, with small minor workers (length 1.5-3.0) and larger major workers (length 3.5-4.5 mm) with massive darker heads. There are many native species of Pheidole that closely resemble the Coastal Brown Ant and require specialist identification to tell apart.

 


Spiny Ants

polyrhachis-ammon

Scientific Name

Polyrhachis species

Most species of Polyrhachis have large spines on their bodies, from which they get their common name. There are well over 100 Australian species of spiny ants. They are quite large and often attractive ants that forage on the ground and run up and down the trunks of trees during the day. However a number of species are strictly nocturnal.

Most are black, but many have parts of their bodies, particularly the abdomen, covered in a thick layer of silver or golden hairs.

Their nesting habits are varied. Lots of species nest in the soil, usually under rocks and logs, but many others nest off the ground in hollow twigs and branches or within hollows in the trunks of trees. A few make their nests amongst the foliage of trees and bushes, webbing leaves together with silk produced by their larvae.

Spiny ants cannot sting but spray formic acid from a small circular hole (the acidopore) at the tip of the gaster.

Distribution

Australia Wide

Identification

All species of Polyrhachis are monomorphic, meaning that all the workers in a nest are similar in size. They have a waist made up of a single segment which often has spines. Most species also have spines on the mesosoma. The first segment of the gaster is long and usually covers at least half its length. Spiny ants, like most sugar ants (Camponotus spp.), do not have a metapleural gland, and lack an opening just above the base of the hind legs.

The Golden-tailed Spiny Ant, Polyrhachis ammon (length 6-8 mm) is one of several spiny ants with a bright golden gaster. The mesosoma has only one pair of strong spines at the rear. This species is common in open forest and woodland in coastal eastern Australia from north Queensland to Victoria. It nests in the ground under rocks and logs.

Dome-backed spiny ants such as Polyrhachis australis (length 4-6 mm), nest amongst the foliage of trees and shrubs by webbing leaves together with silk produced by the larvae. They incorporate fragments of vegetation into the silk. This group of spiny ants have a strongly arched mesosoma which has very short spines or none at all. Most species inhabit rainforest edges, open forest and woodland and some are common in suburban gardens in coastal Queensland.

Daemel's Spiny Ant, Polyrhachis daemeli, is one of many spiny ant species that nest inside hollows in tree trunks and branches. The workers are active during the day and are usually seen running up and down tree trunks. This species has pairs of spines on the front and rear of the mesosoma and has much of the body covered in silvery hairs. It is found in a variety of forest types and is common between Mackay and Brisbane.

 


Green-Head Ant

rhytidoponera-metallica

Scientific Name

Rhytidoponera metallica

Green-head ants are one of the commonest garden ants in south-eastern Queensland where they are responsible for most ant stings. The sting is painful but generally short-lived, but is known to produce severe allergic reactions in some people. Green-head ants are found throughout Australia and are common in open forests, woodlands, grasslands and pastures. They nest in the soil, either in open ground or under rocks and logs. The workers are scavengers and predators of other invertebrates but also collect plant seeds and honeydew from sap-sucking insects.

Distribution

Australia Wide.

In Brisbane, people call these ants 'green ants'. However, this can be confusing, because when people from north Queensland talk about green ants they are referring to Green Tree Ants.

Identification

Workers are 4.5 to 5 mm long and black with metallic green, blue and purple reflections. Their bodies are heavily armoured and pitted and the waist has a single segment. All the workers within a nest are similar in size (monomorphic).

 


Sugar Ants

camponotus-humilior

Scientific Name

Camponotus species

Most species of sugar ants are generalist scavengers and predators but also collect sugary nectar, plant secretions and honeydew from sap-sucking insects, hence their common name, sugar ants. Sugar ants cannot sting but spray formic acid from a small circular hole (the acidopore) at the tip of the gaster. Large workers of some species can deliver a painful bite with their powerful jaws.

Some species of sugar ants forage only at night, others during the day and some are active at all times.

There are more than one hundred Australian species of sugar ants and they are among some of the most common ants.

Most species of sugar ants nest in the soil but some nest in rotten logs on the ground. A few are specialised nesters in hollow twigs and branches on trees. Many of these tree-nesting species are dimorphic and have major workers with large cylindrical heads that are used to plug the small, circular entrances to the nest.

Distribution

There are more than one hundred Australian species of sugar ants and they can be among some of the commonest ants.

Identification

Different species of sugar ant vary dramatically in size and shape. Workers range from 2.5 to 18 mm long. Most species are polymorphic with the workers in a nest varying in size.

The biggest workers have much larger heads compared to the smallest workers. Some species are dimorphic with just two sizes of workers; small minors and large majors.The waist has a single segment and the upper surfaces of the mesosoma and petiole never have spines or teeth. Almost all species of Camponotus lack a metapleural gland and are missing an opening just above the base of the hind leg. This first segment of the gaster is short and covers less than half its length.

The Household Sugar Ant, Camponotus humilior (length 5-8 mm) commonly nests inside houses in wall cavities or ceiling spaces in south-east Queensland. The workers are nocturnal and are often found wandering inside houses at night. Outdoors this species nests in rotten wood on the ground or in cavities or dead branches in trees.