Ants are one of the most common pests in the UK. Whether we realise it or not, most of us encounter ants every single day.
Ants are also among the most effective pests at establishing themselves in new environments. They can do this thanks to their ingenious use of pheromones; chemical scents that they use to communicate with one another. By communicating in this way, a colony of ants can act as a single cohesive organism.
Once ants have established themselves and built their nests, they are hard to dislodge. Every homeowner and business needs to know how to spot an ant infestation, and what to do if they discover one on their property.
What Problems Do Ants Cause?
In general, most species of ant prefer warmer climates. As a result, the gloomy London weather is less than ideal for them. But that obviously hasn’t stopped ants from flourishing here. Two main types of ants account for the majority of ants in the UK; the black ant and the garden ant. These ants don’t carry diseases as other pests do. However, they do forage in unhygienic environments where pathogens, bacteria, and viruses are all present. Ants can transfer these nasties from place to place when they come into contact with them.
Given that ants are drawn to food, this means they can present a potential health hazard to people. They will easily find their way into any unsealed food containers you might have.
Ants also occasionally like to bite people, these bites aren’t severe, but they can irritate. Some people are allergic to these bites. While they are rarely dangerous, even in those with an allergy, they can still be problematic.
It isn’t just people that ants will sometimes bite, either. They can also cause damage to property and structures. Ants usually build their nests from foliage and other organic debris. However, those impressive mandibles can cut through plenty of inorganic materials.
Ants communicate with one another using chemical signals. Once an ant has found a pathway into your food cupboard and knows how to get at the food you’re storing, it can lay down a chemical trail for the rest of its nest. Other ants will then follow this chemical trail and, before you know it, you have the entire hive moving into your home.
What Are The Signs Of An Ant Infestation?
The clearest sign of an ant infestation is the ants themselves. You don’t have to worry about the sight of a couple of lone ants on your property, but you should be wary if you notice large groups of them. When you have a full-blown infestation, you will generally find that ants stick together and follow the same chemical pathways. A hive of ants behaves as a single, cohesive unit, thanks to their novel use of pheromones and chemical signals.
The other dead giveaway that you have a serious ant problem on your hands is an ants nest. Most of us have stumbled across an ants nest at some point in our lives.
When you come across an active nest, you will know. Ants nests comprise hundreds, even thousands of individual ants. If you have any tree stumps, woodland, or other foliage on your property, ants are very adept at finding suitable spots to build their nests where they are reasonably disguised. However, ants have no problem building their nests in the open. They also regularly nest beneath the cracks in concrete pathways and patios. If you suspect you have a nest on your property, these are the first places you should check.
Like other tests, ants have two priorities in life; food and shelter. With both of these needs taken care of, ants are free to reproduce and focus on maintaining the nest. If you can deny ants access to food or shelter, they won’t have the opportunity to establish their nest and breed.
Denying them food is relatively easy. Obviously, ants are capable of feeding themselves without access to human food. But access to food, especially sugary foods, will enable them to feed themselves much more efficiently. More importantly, if an ant thinks it has found an easily-accessible long-term source of food, it will use chemical signalling to encourage other ants to come and join in the feast. Fortunately, keeping ants out of your food isn’t difficult. Tupperware containers are an excellent way of protecting food and preventing ants, and other pests, from picking up the scent. Tupperware keeps food safe and fresh and is easy to open when you want to access it.
Denying ants access to shelter is a tricker process. Ants can crawl through cracks and gaps too small for people to even notice. If you notice major cracks and damage to your concrete pathways or outdoor patios, these are popular places for ants to construct their nests. Repairing any such damage or filling in other cracks and gaps that ants might use will make it harder for them to establish a nest.
If you catch an ant infestation early on, you can often deal with the problem on your own. There is a range of DIY products on the market that will either kill or repel ants. Once ants have established a nest, getting rid of them becomes much more tricky, and many of the off the shelf solutions will be useless to you.
Wherever ants build their nests, the bulk of the structure will be located underground, where it is out of sight and protected. As a result it can look from the surface like you only have a relatively small infestation on your hands. But there could be a lot more going on underground or somewhere else you can’t see. If this is the case, many of the DIY pesticides will only remove the most visible layer of the infestation. As long as the main nest and queen remain, they will have no trouble replenishing lost ants and building out their nest.
Why You Need A Professional Pest Control Service To Deal With An Ant Infestation
Given how common any are, and the general perception that they are essentially harmless, many people will try to deal with an active infestation on their own.
There are plenty of products in the market designed to kill or repel ants. These products include sprays, powders, gels, and many more. While these products can be effective and will work as advertised, they aren’t guaranteed to alleviate the problem permanently. If you want to be certain of defeating an infestation and avoiding a future recurrence, you should consider calling in a professional pest control business like Bon Accord.
Our experienced pest control technicians won’t just come to your home or business and spray so.e insecticide around. Instead, we will make a full assessment of your property and the state of the infestation. Once we know what we are dealing with, we can then discuss options with you. In many cases, you will have several options for how you want to deal with an infestation. If you have young children or pets in your property, we will devise a treatment solution that is safe for them to be around. If the infestation is in your place of business, we will put together a plan of action that minimises disruption and ensures your customers aren’t exposed to any dangerous chemicals. We pride ourselves on providing discrete services for businesses that are worried about the bad PR that comes with a pest infestation.
After removing any trace of ants from your property, we will move on to the final stage of the process. This is the part of the process where we discuss the underlying causes of your infestation and how you can use that information to prevent future outbreaks. Fortunately, as long as a professional pest exterminator clears away an ant’s nest, they don’t usually reoccur. However, if ants were first drawn to your property because of something you did or didn’t do, knowing what you need to change is imperative for preventing future outbreaks before they occur.
Any home or business owner who suspects they might have an ant infestation on their property should consult with a professional. Using a professional service like Bon Accord is the only way to be sure that an infestation is dealt with once and for all. Contact us today to arrange an initial assessment of your business and the state of your infestation. We will then advise you on what steps we can take to restore your property to a life free from pests.
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Get in touch with our friendly customer service team now if you want to book an appointment or if you have any questions about pests and what can be done to get rid of them – for good.