Ants are among the most troublesome and persistent pests that invade thousands of homes in Australia. Aside from a few species that are known to bite as a form of defense, ants do not directly cause serious problems to humans. But as large colonies, ants are capable of damaging timber and other types of woodwork, building nests, and dumping their waste and litter inside your home. They may also carry disease-causing bacteria from decaying materials which causes contamination to your food once infested.
With their small body size, incredible strength to weight ratio, and coordinated function as a colony, it is no wonder why ants are considered as one of the toughest and smartest groups of insects on the planet.
Here are some useful tips on how to quickly spot an ant problem inside your home. You may also check this article for more information about the most common pests in Australia. Whether or not you are certain of an ant infestation, it is always better to consult with pest control experts for quicker and more reliable solutions.
- Ant Swarms and Trails
The most obvious indication of an ant infestation inside your home is the presence of live insects moving in swarms or along a trail. They typically crowd near the nests where all trails are used for transporting and searching for food converge. If you find ant swarms in unusual places, such as your bedroom or inside the bathroom, it is an early sign that a larger colony is located somewhere nearby. It is important to keep your food in the fridge or in airtight containers. Also, remember to clean up scattered food particles as soon as possible.
- Ant Nests
Ants do not only build nests outdoors and below the ground but also in dark and rarely visited places inside your home. Ant nests can be found in between the ceilings or inside the walls. Their nests are described as mounds of soil or dirt on the ground or next to a wall of a structure.
- Wood Shavings
Carpenter ants are notorious for destroying woodwork just like termites. The main difference between termites and carpenter ants is that termites feed on wood for nutrition while carpenter ants bore holes through the wood to create pathways and build chambers. Termite nests are associated with mud tubes and traces of soil while carpenter ant nests are characterized by smooth and clean hollows with piles of shavings just below the woodwork.
- Loose Soil
Ants continuously create tunnels and small mounds in the soil for safe and efficient pathways to food sources. Above the ground, their activity can be traced from loosened soil and patches of soil mounds. Excessive exposure of plant roots to air may cause some of your garden vegetables and flowers to lose nutrients and dry out. In worst cases, ants may lead to the integrity of building structures to deteriorate.
- Plant Damage
Extensive plant damage in your garden is also an indication of a serious ant infestation. They attack not only those plants that produce sweet nectar and sap but every plant part from the seeds to the leaves and vegetables. Ants are also capable of spreading diseases from different plants across your garden to other items such as corn and strawberries.