Are you thinking that having black ants will help you get rid of termite colonies in your home? Can black ants attack and eat termites? That's what we asked the experts and here's what they shared with us.
Yes, black ants eat termites. Even though they are smaller in size, these ants are very aggressive. They see termites as a food source whereas termites don't see them that way. Ants also regard termites as competition for resources that fuel their drive to attack the other colony.
Keep on reading to know more about the rivalry between black ants and termites. We'll also tell you how black ants and termites are harmful to humans and what you can do to get rid of them. Let's get this started!
Do ants attack termites?
Do you sometimes wonder if there's a hierarchy among insects and who among them is tougher or smarter and could eliminate the other? Of course, there are some instances where they could co-exist but if they like the same thing, more often than not, they don't like sharing, right?
Black ants and termites may look alike in several ways. Sometimes, termites are even called white ants. Another similarity they have is they both like wood.
- Black ants chew through the wood to create a nest at the end of the tunnel.
- On the other hand, termites feast on wood. It is their main source of food.
If you were given the choice between the two, you might rather go with black ants. Even though they're both considered house pests, termites are more destructive. But what if both insects are present in a house? Will they be friends or enemies?
What many people do not know is that the seemingly harmless black ants or carpenter ants are one of the termites' fiercest rivals. They are mortal enemies and can't live together. Even though ants are smaller in size, they are more aggressive so they boldly attack the termite colony.
Yes, black ants eat termites. The latter is a good source of protein for the former. And of course, by killing termites, they also eliminate their competitor for habitat and food. On the other hand, termites don't eat ants and they're not interested to make them into a daily meal.
However, ants are very strategic when they attack the termites. They are very smart. They do not want to eat all of the colony because if they do, they will lose a delicious food source.
Also, ants cannot readily digest termites. They have to bring their captured prey to their nest and have their larvae feast on them first until they break down the termites' bodies. That's when the queen ant and the rest of the colony can finally eat the termites.
Termites do not go down without a fight though. They sacrifice their bodies and use them to block tunnels to prevent ants from gaining access to their queen. They have soldiers that form a line of defense for their colony leader.
But then again, if you plan to use black ants to eliminate termites, it isn't going to happen unless you have a supercolony of ants. And what's only making things worse.
Are big black ants harmful?
We've mentioned earlier that black ants are the lesser evil between the two pests. But they are still pests nonetheless. They can still cause harm to you and your home. Here's how.
Black Ants Cause Home Damage
Small as they may be, there's strength in numbers. When a colony of black ants invades your home, they will chew through your wood furniture and fixtures to create a nest where they can settle.
But the wood needs to be the type that has been softened already due to an existing moisture issue or fungal infection so that's another problem that you need to look into.
Once their colony has settled, they will look for a constant food source which is why you would often catch them raiding your food in your kitchen or stocks in the pantry.
Black Ants Invite Other Pests to Settle in Your Home
Keep in mind that black ants are also food for other animals. Bats and spiders find them a tasty treat. That's why when you have a black ant infestation, it also follows that you would have to deal with other creatures and pests in your home.
Black Ants Present Health Risks
Although they don't have venom, black ants can bite you. Their mouth and mandibles pinch through your skin and can cause discomfort and pain at times. Some people get skin irritations and when they don't treat the ant bite, it can get infected.
With their size and penchant for damp places, black ants can also be found trudging along some of the most unhygienic places in your house such as the bathroom and trash bins. This means that when they gain access to your kitchen and pantry, they can contaminate your food and utensils with bacteria.
So, don't be deceived by these seemingly harmless creatures. Don't allow your home to be infested by black ants to avoid further problems.
How To Get Rid of Ants
Here are some tips on how to manage the growth of ant colonies in your home.
Seal Your Home
These small creatures find their way inside your home through very small gaps and cracks in the wall, doors, or windows. Make sure you seal these portions of your house to prevent them from gaining access inside.
It is also advised that you cut off the tree branches touching your house because they can use them as a bridge to get to the higher portions of your home.
Deprive of Water Supply
Black ants love moisture because it makes the wood soft and easier to tunnel through. Address the moisture problem in your home by regulating the humidity level and allowing proper ventilation. Use dehumidifiers if needed. Also, remove any standing water in and out of the house.
Store Your Wood Materials Properly
Don't store firewood and wood construction materials in your house. These will attract the black ants into your home especially if other conditions such as fungal and moisture problems exist.
Are termites harmful to humans?
As we've also said earlier, termites are destructive creatures. They cause more damage in your home because they devour wood until there's almost nothing left. These will weaken or destroy your wood furniture or fixtures at home.
It is also a different matter when they bite and sting you. It can cause itchiness, swelling, or a burning sensation.
As they attack wood, it releases wood dust particles in the air that can trigger asthma attacks and allergies. They can also cause contact dermatitis.
Termites can also spread mold spores which only makes things worse for those with allergies and respiratory issues. Even if you don't have asthma or allergies, you can still experience similar symptoms such as itchiness or difficulty in breathing.
How to get rid of termites?
One thing you should never do when there's a termite infestation in your house is to undertake a DIY solution. While you may find different recommendations on the internet, these usually involve the use of chemicals, insecticides, toxins, and even parasites.
Truth is, these can still be ineffective especially if you don't know what you're doing. Remember, some termites are sub-terrareans so they live underneath the soil. This makes them more difficult to spot and treat all at once.
It's always best to call a professional pest control company to control the termite infestation. They know where to direct the chemicals to effectively kill the termite colony. With their expertise, they would be able to save your house from further damage.
Black ants do eat termites but they are smart and strategic when they attack their colony. They don't want to lose their source of good food right away so they eat termites slowly but surely.