While there are over 4,000 known species of ants in Australia, only a small handful are considered pests.
Most ants don’t transmit disease, but they are a nuisance and an eyesore – which could negatively impact the reputation of your home or business.
If disturbed, some ants like the bull ant can inflict a series of painful, non-lethal stings that cause the skin to swell – taking several days to recover.
Each ant species is unique in terms of their appearance, lifecycle, habits, and diet. The size and location of their colony can also differ greatly. Most importantly, how the Queen and worker ants work together to explore your home or business can differ – which can influence how they enter and leave the building.
The first step to be rid of an infestation is to know which ant species you’re up against.
Four most Common Ant species
Black House Ant
This is the most common ant species you will come across. They are easy to identify thanks to their black, shiny appearance and small size (measuring at 2.5 to 3mm long).
Black house ants love to scavenge areas that house food. These include kitchens, pantries, countertops, dining tables, and kitchen cupboards. They may also explore rubbish bins that don’t have a lid on top.
To prevent the spread of black house ants, keep exposed sources of food to a minimum. Then try to locate the colony and treat it. Spot treatment will only eliminate worker ants – but won’t stop more from coming.
As their name implies, these ants have the ability to fly. They have two sets of wings: a front and a back pair.
Being able to tell the difference between flying ants and termites is crucial, as they are similar in appearance so it can be easy to get the two confused.
The key thing to remember is, while both flying ants and termites have two pairs of wings, the back pair of wings on a flying ant is shorter than that of a termite.
One way to tell if you have flying termites is to look out for discarded wings. These are shed by the Queen once they breed and establish a new nest.
One of the most aggressive species of ants, if disturbed, bull ants can inflict a painful sting onto human skin.
Bull ants typically establish nests outdoors either in soil or under logs and rocks. They can also be found in bushy areas to remain hidden. For this reason, if you have children who play outside often, then you should inspect the area often to ensure it is safe.
What should you do if you or a loved one is stung by a bull ant? According to Health Direct, one should apply an ice pack to the affected area for relief, and then visit a doctor if the pain is persistent – they might prescribe cortisone tablets to settle the swelling.
Argentine ants are one of the most common invasive ants in Queensland.
Their ‘success’ is largely due to their aggressive nature. That is, when introduced to a new area, the argentine ants will drive out other native ant species and establish their own colony in place of the old one.
Argentine ants are easy to recognise due to their light to dark brown colour tone. This is aided by the fact that argentine worker ants are slightly smaller than coastal brown ants. With this information the chance of confusing the two is low.
Other Prominent Ant Species
Below is a quick breakdown of other common ant species in Australia:
- Carpenter ant
- Fire ant
- Garden ant
- Ghost ant
- Green ant
- Odorous house ant
- Pavement ant
- Pharaoh’s ant
- Singapore ant
- Sugar ant
Got a problem with any of the above ant species? If so, contact All Bugs today. We can provide free advice and prepare a quote for effective ant removal.