Pest control service

Advice on ants

To book Opkill call 0800 980 4142 - when calling, let the member of staff know you are a resident of Lichfield District - treatments cost £42 (inc VAT). There is a three working day response time (providing Opkill can access your property). Opkill will need a minimum of one visit.

Types of ants

Common black ant, garden ant (Lasius niger)

The pharaohs ant is a small ant of tropical origin. The workers are only 2mm long, the queen 5mm long and both are yellow in colour. The ant has a characteristic double segmented waist and a darkened tip to the abdomen.

In temperate climates it is an indoor species, associated particularly with large facilities such as hospitals, prisons and blocks of flats. Unlike some other ant species, the queen may be replaced by other queens. This is an important feature to bear in mind during control, as new queens can be produced when needed resulting in colonies which are able to split.

A thorough survey by professional personnel is highly recommended. Pharaoh ants are most often found in areas near a source of moisture such as kitchens or bathrooms. The use of conventional residual treatments is generally not effective as they may cause the nest to fragment. Baiting may be effective if the active ingredient is slow acting. Good results have been shown by using juvenile hormone based treatments. The treatment consists of applying bait to areas frequented by the ants, which works by stopping the ants from breeding and so they naturally die off. You will usually notice a reduction in the number of ants within 28 days, but it may take longer to kill off all the insects. Although modern treatments are very effective, there are rare occasions when it does not completely work.

Pharaohs ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

The pharaohs ant is a small ant of tropical origin. The workers are only 2mm long, the queen 5mm long and both are yellow in colour. The ant has a characteristic double segmented waist and a darkened tip to the abdomen.

In temperate climates it is an indoor species, associated particularly with large facilities such as hospitals, prisons and blocks of flats. Unlike some other ant species, the queen may be replaced by other queens. This is an important feature to bear in mind during control, as new queens can be produced when needed resulting in colonies which are able to split.

A thorough survey by professional personnel is highly recommended. Pharaoh ants are most often found in areas near a source of moisture such as kitchens or bathrooms. The use of conventional residual treatments is generally not effective as they may cause the nest to fragment. Baiting may be effective if the active ingredient is slow acting. Good results have been shown by using juvenile hormone based treatments. The treatment consists of applying bait to areas frequented by the ants, which works by stopping the ants from breeding and so they naturally die off. You will usually notice a reduction in the number of ants within 28 days, but it may take longer to kill off all the insects. Although modern treatments are very effective, there are rare occasions when it does not completely work.

Ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum)

The ghost ant is sometimes called the black-headed ant. This ant is very small about 1.5mm, with a dark head and thorax. The pale coloured, almost translucent abdomen and legs, in addition to its size, gives the ghost ant its name.

Although having only arrived in the UK in the last few years, and still relatively rare, the ghost ant is spreading quickly, particularly in large housing developments. The Ghost Ant colony can be moderate to large in size, containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. The colony is usually divided into sub-colonies - this is because the areas where the ghost ants prefer to build nests are usually too small to house their huge numbers. Different ghost ant colonies do not attack one another and will even integrate with their neighbouring ghost ants. Ghost ants have a preference for sweet foodstuffs. Outdoors, they feed on the honeydew from aphids and mealy bugs; indoors they will seek out sugar, sweets, syrup, honey and jam.

Spraying with a residual insecticide where trails are seen is more likely to achieve results than with pharaoh ants. However, because of their size and ability to form new nests, re-infestation often occur in other parts of the building. Combination treatments with gels and liquid baits are advised.

If you intend to carry out your own treatment, read the label of the pesticide container and follow the instructions carefully.