Ants: information and advice
The ant is a social insect and lives in colonies or nests. They are normal inhabitants of gardens and outdoor spaces, but can invade dwellings in large numbers. Garden ants are dark brown and approximately 4mm in length.
During the summer large numbers of winged females and males are reared in the nest, which is usually underground. On a warm summer evening they swarm from the nest and take a brief flight during which they mate. On returning to the ground the males die and the females shed their wings and crawl back into the nest and hibernate for the winter before starting a new colony the following spring. In favourable conditions the queen ant and her colony may survive for several years.
Ants are attracted to sweet foods e.g. syrup, jam, preserves and sugar. They make a trail to and from their nest entrance and the food source to transport the food into the colony.
There is no real public health significance from garden ants they are merely a nuisance, but nobody likes eating food that insects have crawled on, so when they are indoors they become a nuisance.
If ants are a nuisance, locate the nest or colony by following the trail then treat the nest with an insecticidal dust, spray or a gel (available from DIY and garden centres) - the ants will carry this into the colony - be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions. Usual entrance points to a colony include holes in walls (possibly around drainage and waste pipes), through air bricks, beneath poorly finished work surfaces, kitchen units, baths and wash basins.
Unless the nest can be uncovered, any treatment of foraging ants will be ineffective and it may be impossible to destroy the nest completely and eradicate the infestation.
Hastings Borough Council does not offer a service for the removal of ants.
Our pest control information and charges page has the fees for all our pest control services.