Ants in Australia can be roughly separated into three groups:
1. Sugar feeder ants - including the black house ant (ochetellus glaber)
2. Protein feeder ants - including the meat ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus)
3. Fat and oil feeder ants - including the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)
Another ant we frequently receive enquiry about is the Carpenter ant. They often occupy similar habitats as termites, living in decayed wood, which they excavate for themselves, but unlike termites, they do not destroy sound timbers. Their workings are clean and free from the faecal marks that are often characteristic of termite workings.
DIY Ant Prevention:
Attention to hygiene and sanitation will reduce the likelihood of scavenging worker ants. Always wipe down all surfaces to remove the chemical trail ants leave to trace back to their nests. Putting food away at night in sealed containers, sealing cracks and crevices, and disposing of rubbish are all do it your self ant controls. Always wash up after using the kitchen. Wipe down spreads such as honey in your kitchen cupboard to avoid attracting sugar ants. Rinse your items for recycling. It is a good idea to get a professional spray every spring as a preventative ant treatment.
Life Cycle and Habits:
Ants have three clearly defined body segments - the head, thorax, and abdomen. They have large compound eyes and elbowed antennae. Individuals undergo a complete metamorphosis from egg, to larva, to pupa, and emerge into one of the adult castes of worker, queen or male.
Ants will generally live in permanent nests but can change location when conditions prove unfavourable. Their feeding habits can be that of either predator or scavenger. Worker ants will forage from nest to food source, communicating to the group by laying scent trails or using smell, taste, sight and hearing.