Ants are such fascinating creatures. Although this is true, they can cause structural damage to your home's foundation or property. We have researched what you need to know about what black ants eat.
Black ants do not eat wood, they however chip or tunnel through the lumber to establish nests or colonies. Typically, these ants feed on insects and sweet substances like plant nectars, fruits, honeydew, and food crumbs.
Black ants are considered harmless but can damage your wooden structures, especially if undealt with. They form holes or cavities within the wood that renders the material weak. If you wish to find out more about these creatures, continue on reading!
What Are Black Ants?
Approximately ten thousand species of ants have been discovered all around the globe. Ants in general basically belong to the family Formicidae but are divided into various subfamilies. These subclassifications determine the characteristics, their choice of habitat, and whether or not they sting.
Black ants belong to the subfamily Myrmicinae, Dolichoderine, and Formicinae. Myrmicinae is a major group of familiar ants that have stings and can be found in almost all considerable habitats. This includes little black ants, pavement ants, and big-headed ants.
Dolichoderinae are those ant species that are characterized as having a strong odor but do not sting or spray venom. Most ants that belong in this classification are predators and scavengers, and they form colonies under rocks, soil, and rotting or living wood.
Odorous and white-footed ants are the two most common members.
Formicinae ant classification lack stings, but they spray venom from the end of their abdomen. This species is mostly found on tree branches, bark, and wood or lumber. Big black ants - also known as carpenter ants - are members of this subfamily.
Why Ants Prefer To Live Inside Your Home?
Ants are attracted to your home for several reasons. They are particularly drawn by food particles, food storage areas, and leftovers that remain in the open. Some species forage then return to their colonies, while other variants build their nests indoors.
Another reason is for habitation. Ants prefer to live in enclosed spaces and moist areas inside your home, especially those places that are undisturbed by human interaction. Ants tend to protect their colonies, and as such, they build them in areas that are hidden.
Effects Of Colonies In The Home
If there is an obvious infestation of ants in the household, they may affect your health and other properties or belongings as well - clothes, food, and furniture. Carpenter ants can cause the most damage inside your home because they can chew through wood.
They also burrow into window or door frames or any kind of similar material. These ants do not eat the lumber, but they excavate or form hollowed-out holes within the structure for habitat and protection.
Formation Of Nests
Since ants prefer to live in moist hidden areas, they can be found inside closets and cabinets which is why you may encounter them forming nests in your clothes. They are basically attracted to the smell of your detergents but don't worry, they don't eat fabrics.
How To Prevent And Control Infestation?
1. Store Food Properly
The kitchen and dining areas are the usual places where ants forage for food. Ants are drawn to crumbs and any sweet or fatty foods. It is important to store food in sealed containers such as condiments, meal leftovers, and syrups.
Ants are also drawn to pet food. If you see these insects roaming around your pet's bowl, clean and store food and dishes properly between feedings. Always keep the area free from dirt.
2. Clean All Surfaces
After cooking and eating meals, ensure all surfaces and floors are free from any food crumbs and sugary liquids. Wipe, clean, and sweep or vacuum the area right away.
3. Use Sealed Trash Bins And Containers
Ants are especially attracted to all forms of trash or dirt because it is the place where they can look for food and building materials such as paper, cartons, and wood. Sealing trash cans will prevent them from scavenging inside your garbage bins, and as such, they would not be able to form ant trails.
4. Seal Cracks And Other Openings
Now that you have done the necessary methods to prevent them from accessing any food products, the next thing you have to do is to find ways to stop them from entering your home. Seal cracks and any other openings that may be a potential entrance for these insects.
Use waterproof filler or sealants around window and door frames, any obvious cracks, and around the foundation of your home. Remember to reapply these sealants because the quality may degrade over time.
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5. Disrupt Ant Trails
Ants communicate by leaving a scent from food sources leading to the colony. This is the reason why ant trails are present in several areas around your home.
After identifying and eliminating what attracts them, disrupt ant trails with a mixture of water and vinegar. The acid will eliminate the scent signals and disorient the insects and the trails usually disappear after repeated applications.
6. Use Exterminating Products
Employ water-based insecticide in places frequented by ants such as food preparation areas. Nooks and corners around the kitchen, cupboards, and cabinets, above and under the sink, around stoves and ovens.
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Ants are commonly found in the dining room. Spray or apply pesticides on the floor area beneath and around the dining table and chairs. If there are doors that lead outside either in the kitchen or dining area, you can line the periphery with chalk-based ant repellent.
Children's rooms and dens are a natural target for ants mainly because of leftover or neglected food. Clean, sterilize and apply insecticide around and under beds, tables, cabinets, and other access areas.
It is important to set aside or seal all materials before the application of insecticide. Food, plates and utensils, glasses, toys, or basically everything that comes into human contact.
Finally, doors, windows, and all potential entries should be treated as well. Apply the pesticide around door jambs and windowsills, gates, and portals.
Special attention should be given if you have a basement since the damp surrounding is a good breeding ground for ants.
7. Eliminate Colonies Around Your Home
Yards and gardens are the usual sites of ant colonies. If you notice any hill formations around your property, it is an indication of the presence of ant nests.
Immediately deploy ant baits around the perimeter. This may not kill these pests instantly, but the toxic substance will be carried back to the colony, eventually terminating the ants.
8. Spray Ant Barrier
Spraying ant barriers will basically prevent the ants from entering the perimeter of your property. If possible, it is best to hire professionals to do this task since the chemicals may be potent and toxic.
Black ants are generally harmless but pose potential damage when ignored. They multiply rapidly and form several nests around the home. We hope the article helped regarding their characteristics, effects on the household, and ways to eliminate and prevent infestation.