A single ant scavenging across your kitchen counter is easy to eliminate, as is a small trail of ants. But these guys are scouts for hundreds, possibly thousands of their nesting mates who are waiting in lawns, walls, roofs, sub-floors and building foundations to follow invisible scent trails inside. When the whole gang arrives you will need more than a damp dish cloth to control the havoc they create.

THE ANT ENVIRONMENT

Ants will make themselves at home anywhere they have access to a warm shelter and food.

In colder parts of New Zealand ants go into a short hibernation. However, if nests may stay warm enough they will continue to invade homes throughout the winter months. In Auckland, temperatures may not become cold enough for ants to hibernate at all.

Additonally, climate change is giving ants longer breeding seasons, which was dramatically affecting numbers and viable habitats.

 

THE ARGENTINE ANT

The Argentine ant is certainly one bad boy!

It is one of the world’s top 10 invasive species, and poses a serious threat to New Zealand’s biodiversity. They are aggressive and territorial, so while they are not poisonous, they can bite people.

Argentine ant nests cooperate with each other and can build ‘super-colonies’. They form these by connecting their nests through cooperation between worker ants, enabling a high density of nests which can grow to huge numbers.

Besides being a major household and garden pest, Argentine ants pose a serious threat to our natural areas and biodiversity because of their aggressiveness and appetite.

Argentine ants kill and displace native invertebrates that many indigenous species depend on. They will eat lizards, bird eggs and newly hatched chicks, potentially threatening endangered populations.

During spring and summer, when nests are expanding, they have an insatiable appetite for protein and sweet foods such as honeydew and nectar. Because their diet spans all food types from insects to nectar, they take food sources away from:

  • kiwi
  • nectar-eating birds such as tuis, bellbirds and silvereyes
  • lizards like skinks and geckos
  • native invertebrates.

ANT CONTROL

The first step to controlling an ant problem in your home is to make sure food residue and spills are cleaned. Wiper down the kitchen benchtop and ensure you pay attention to your floor too. You will often find crumbs and scraps hiding in corners. Fatty foods are sugars are to ants what an avocado smash is to an Auckland hispter on a Sunday morning. If you elimiate the food source, you have won the first battle against these invasive little creatures.

In many cases, ants will be extremely difficult to control by yourself, and you will likely require the assistance of a professional pest controller. Ant control in these cases will require the use of commercial grade baits and insecticides.

 

 

NZ Pest Control technicians are certified in ant control in New Zealand. For further advice or to make a treatment booking, feel free to contact one of our specialist technicians on 0800 227 799 or at info@nzpest-control.co.nz