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Ants
 

Identification

  • Ants have 3 x pair of legs;
  • 3 x body segments;
  • Ant's eyes are compound eyes, similar to fleas.  Some species have mediocre eyesight and some are even blind;
  • Ants have a pair of antennae which always are bent (elbowed);
  • They have mandibles which are used to carry food, dig, defend and also give a nasty bite;
  • On their head they have feelers which are special smelling organs that pick up pheromones that ants release to communicate.
 
Habits/Lifestyles

Each individual ant has its own job within the colony.  Ants have a Queen who lays eggs, Workers who build nests and tend to the Queen, Soldiers that are used for colony defence and Males whose only role is to mate with the new Queens.

Ants communicate through pheromone trails which are left behind to let the rest of the colony know which trail to follow for food, to get home or as an alarm to warn fellow ants there is trouble ahead.

Ants attach and defend themselves by biting and in many species, stinging and often injecting chemicals.  See Fire Ants below for more information about an ant which inflicts a painful sting.

Typical ants that are classified as pests include Pavement Ants (otherwise known as the Sugar Ant), Pharaoh Ants, Carpenter Ants, Argentine Ants, Coastal Brown Ants and the Red Imported Fire Ant. 

Ant populations are controlled with bait insecticides, which are either in the form of small granules or as a sticky liquid.  This is gathered by the ants as food and then brought back to the nest which is then passed within the colony.
 

Fire Ants

Fire Ants are serious pests which have only been detected in the Queensland Region.  They  inflict a painful sting and if not eradicated they have the potential to destroy Australia's Environment, Agricultural Production and seriously impact on our lifestyle.  They are the greatest ecological threat to Australia since the introduction of the rabbit and are potentially worse than the cane toad.

Fire Ants are:
 
a.. 3-6mm in size;
b.. Have three pairs of legs;
c.. A pair of antennae;
d.. Copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen;
e.. Can be distinguished by their aggressive behaviour, particularly near their nest.

Fire ants nest in soil, often near moist areas, such as riverbanks, pond edges, watered lawns and highway edges.  Usually the nest is not visible as it will be built under objects such as timber, logs, rocks, pavers, bricks, etc.

Nests can also appear as dome shaped mounds, up to 40cm high.  These mounds are usually found in open parks or fields.  The Fire Ant can also be confused with the Coastal Brown Ant and Local Native Ants.

If a Fire Ant nest has been found, avoid contact with the ant and report them to your Local Pest Professional immediately.
 

 

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