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Pest Gallery > Ants

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Ants are considered as pests, because they live in and protect territory that we consider ours or because they want to consume resources that we need. For example, leafcutting ants compete with us for crop plants in the American tropics. Fire ants colonize damp grasslands (including lawns!) with alarming ease. Carpenter ants, adapted for living in dead wood, consider the dead wood (lumber) in houses fair game, especially if it is damp. A number of opportunistic ant species can overrun kitchens, pantries, and pet food areas in search of suitable food items. Also, some ants (like their relatives the wasps and bees) have a potent sting. As with bees, some people can become hypersensitive to ant stings.

Ant can be a problem for Gardeners as they will farm aphids (small plant-feeding insect) for the honeydew (sugar-rich sticky substance) they secrete by carrying them inside the nest and incredibley bringing them back out again when necessary. The ants will also eat ripe fruits. Although it is worth noting the Garden Ant scavenge on waste in the Garden, removing dead insects. However, once introduced into the home they contaminate food stuffs particularly sweet foods and are regarded as pests. Another major sign is the flight on mass off winged ants, there is no risk to humans, it can be quite a display when flights can contain thousands of winged males and females. During long-lasting, hot summers, flights can take place simultaneously across the country, but overcast weather with local patches of sunshine results in a far less synchronised emergence.

Exploring ants can sometimes burrow through mortar and brick into our residences. Houses, office kitchens and genereal human habitation provide ants with sustainable food sources. The usual response from humans when several ants are spotted in their house (commonly the kitchen) is to reach for the insecticide powder. A better method of eradicating ants from the premises is to ensure that all food surfaces are clean and free from sugar and sweet substances that attract the ants in the first place or to return for food. Flying ants, if found indoors, will also soon realise that they have chosen the wrong place to start their mating flight. If left alone, the colony will nearly always choose an external wall to use as their official take off.
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Pests at wikipedia.org

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