There are almost 9,000 species of ant in the world. Fortunately for us, most species prefer warmer climates, and these include the more dangerous varieties, such as the highly venomous bullet ant of South America.
The black ant
In the UK you are most likely to encounter the garden ant (sometimes known as the black ant). These do not carry diseases but are nevertheless a nuisance in the home.
Black ants nest underground and a colony can reach up to 40,000. They are highly adventurous and will explore their surroundings extensively using established trails (which means they will often be seen marching across the kitchen floor like a tiny army).
Other species of ants can also be encountered in the UK.
The ghost ant
This takes its name from its small size and pale colour, which combine to make it difficult to see. Ghost ants originate from Africa, and although they struggle to thrive in colder regions, they have been known to appear in the UK.
The Pharaoh ant
This is another tropical ant that is now encountered almost anywhere in the world. Pharaoh ants vary in colour from yellow to brown and are a little larger than black ants.
Due to their preference for a warmer climate, both Pharaoh ants and ghost ants are likely to nest inside buildings. They are usually found under floorboards, in wall voids or even in furniture.
Pharaoh ants can cause damage by gnawing holes in silk and rubber items.
Getting rid of ants
The first ants you encounter will be explorers searching for a new food source. If they find one, for example some sugar or fruit juice spilt on a work surface, they will go back to the nest and report what they have found. The next thing you know, an invasion force of several thousand ants will be on its way!
You can reduce the chances of an ant infestation by keeping work surfaces clean and making sure that any spillages are quickly removed. Check for crumbs under furniture or between seat cushions.
If you do spot an army of ants on the march, try cleaning the trail with bleach to prevent their return.
Some ant nests can be easily destroyed using a domestic insecticide, or the traditional kettle of boiling water. But others can be in locations that are difficult to find. In this case, you can be confident that our ant removal specialists in Essex can find and eradicate the problem!