Ants form actual and real societies or colonies. To know how these colonies formation and development occur, will allow us to understand the proper intervention method for the disinfestation of houses, facilities, gardens, etc.
Every group, formed by similar individuals in shape and age, carries out its own specific activity in the ants’ society. This division of tasks is defined CASTE.
Castes are 3:
- Queen ants
- Male ants
- Worker ants
The Queen Ant is fertile, lays her eggs and is initially winged.
The Male Ant is fertile, winged and dies after mating.
The Worker Ant is sterile, is a female and has primarily the task of enlarging the nest, digging new galleries, while a number of them look for food.
It is also part of the worker ants the soldier ants group, so called for the more developed shape of their head and jaws.
The “marriage flights” are actual and real swarms of winged ants flying towards meeting places usually bushes. Then from here they move in swarms through the air or to the ground where the Queen ants fertilization happens. These marriage flights are often favored by climatic events.
Depending on the species the fecundated queen ants belong to, they may either remain in the same nest of origin or fly searching for a new nest, usually in the ground or wood. There they will begin digging the chamber and laying their first eggs, which will partly make nourishment for the first larvae and the Queen Ant too. The latter feeds as well on the wing muscles previously broken off and at a reabsorbtion stage, or on her own fat reserve supplies.
For the development of new queen and male ants at least 2 years are needed since the formation of the new colony, but that may vary from species to species. Some of these, as for instance the Pharaoh Ant or the Argentine Ant , do not leave the nest for mating: queens lay their eggs in the same nest and afterwards a subdivision of the colony occurs. Some queens, or even just one, leave the nest along with a part of the worker ants, carrying out a real migration with food supplies in search of a site where they will build a new nest.
In order to have an effective disinfestation is important to know the species and its behavioural, reproduction and feeding habits. In our country are found some varieties of infestant ants which, if not stopped, may cause damages to the buildings and inside our houses.
BLACK ANT (LASIUS NIGER)
This dark brown or black colored Ant nests more frequently outside while in the inside of buildings search underneath floorings or squares in sunny areas.
The nests of this Ant are recognizable by the formation, around the opening hole, of small amounts of very fine ground.
They preferably feed on sugar materials or high protein content. In searching for food they always follow certain paths.
The queen Ant, recognizable by her size, 15 mm, lays her eggs at the end of the spring season but the mating usually occurs between the half and the end of the summer season and it happens on the wing.
FIRE ANT (SOLENOPSIS)
This species is recognizable by the red colored body and head, with their clubbed antennae visible only frontally, and a darker abdomen.
This Ant , if disturbed, becomes aggressive and her sting will causes pustules in 48 hours. In addition this species of Ant is thought to be one of the most harmful to the agriculture and infestant to the living areas, both rural and urban. She feeds on insects’ carcasses, sugar materials among which the honeydew, high protein materials and fats.
This Ant usually nests inside ground piles, trunks or other materials she finds in the ground.
Also in this species, mating happens on the wing, between the half and the end of the summer season. The male dies and the queen Ant , after she has found a fitting place for the nest, at the end of the spring season lays from 100 to 125 eggs. So the larvae formation cycle begins with the transformation of the first workers. After that the queen Ant begins laying again up to 1500 eggs per day.
PHARAOH ANT (MONOMORIUM PHARAONIS)
This species of Ant shows different sizes and colours depending on the caste: the queen Ant is dark red colored and with a length varying from 3,5 to 6 mm. The male Ant is black colored, winged, with a length of 3 mm, while the worker ants are yellow-brown colored with a darker abdomen, no more than 1,5-2 mm long.
The Pharaoh Ant builds her nest in heated and moist hollows of buildings. The colonies with several queens, may reach 300.000 units. Every queen can lay up to 3500 eggs during her life.
The subdivision of the colony only happens only when provoked by external agents or insecticidal treatments.
Feeding is made up of dead insects, blood, meat, fats etc., (NB à Vedi note)
- that often are found inside hospitals.
- That’s why we can find them inside hospitals.
Worker ants follow well-defined paths near heating systems and pipes.
Unlike other species of ants, the swarming happens in any period as they live in closed and heated rooms.
Adult ants have wings, but they rarely fly, that break off once mating has happened.
HYPOPONERA PUNCTATISSIMA ANT
A not very well-known species reddish-brown colored, stinged.
We do not know very much about the reproduction cycle of this Ant . Rarely they are found outside and they usually nest under broken squares, inside draining pipes cracks, where there are rubble and damp places.
This species of Ant feeds on living preys so you cannot easily find the nest as they do not follow certain paths.
Ants become particularly harmful and infestant to our houses, confectionery and food industries and to breedings and gardens, in the changing season period. When they are searching for fitting places for the building of the nest and during the maximum egg production period, when queen ants’ protein requirements raises.
Ants are generally omnivore but particularly greedy of sugars and sugar materials. They are provided with a high developed sense of smell. For this reason it is important, during those periods, to take care of cleanliness of environments, such as kitchens, and industries, not leaving foods exposed.
To wipe out ants from environments, houses, industries etc., it is useful to find the nest and kill off the queen or using very bad smelling materials the ants can’t stand, because of their high developed sense of smell.
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