Ants are among the most common home invading pests in the world. They are tiny social insects that invade your home in large numbers as they forage. They don’t necessarily build their nests inside your home but will move back and forth from a nest near your property where they store their food.
Most ants don’t bite (with a few exceptions) or natively carry diseases. They can, however, contaminate your food through contact as their long commutes in search of food expose them to a variety of disease causing micro-organism.
There are approximately 20,000 species of ants in the world, of which about half have been classified. Scientists estimate that all the ants in the world could weigh as much as the total weight of humans. Now that’s a lot of ants. Luckily, just a handful of these species invade humans, the most common home invader being the Argentine ant.
(Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29281253 )
What is an ant’s lifecycle?
Ants are insects, and just like the rest, they develop by complete metamorphosis. What this means is that ants go through four stages in their lifecycle: egg, larva, pupa and finally adult.
The egg is the first stage of development in the ant’s cycle. Fertilized eggs hatch into females while unfertilised eggs hatch into males. After a few days, the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae are mostly immobile and are fed and cared for by workers. The larvae will then molt several times before proceeding to the pupal stage.
The pupal stage, also known as the resting stage, is when the immature ant develops its features before emerging as an adult. The entire cycle takes about 6-10 weeks depending on conditions. Workers – which are female – live for about 3 years while queens can live to 30. Males are transitory and will only survive for a few weeks.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant )
How to prevent ants?
As I mentioned earlier, ants don’t usually build their nests inside the house. The only reason they come inside is to look for food. To prevent ants from invading your house, you’ll need to:
1. Ensure there are no food sources in your home. Ant colonies send a few scouts into your home to look for food. If they find any, they will call in the cavalry, and then you’ll have a problem. It’s, therefore, important to make sure that you clean up after yourself and your pet.
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Clean them up as soon as possible.
- Vacuum and sweep your kitchen daily.
- Store your food in sealed containers
- Take away your pets food when it’s done
- Seal your bins
- And clean up beverage spills immediately.
2. Seal entry points. Check to see where the ants are coming in from and seal off these points with plaster, glue or silicone caulk.
Professional ant control products can be used if the infestation gets out of hand, and for quick results.