The not so “garden variety” pest

Chances are, if you live in Perth, you have encountered ants somewhere in your life. Whether they’ve invaded your perfectly nice picnic, or set up shop under your kitchen sink, ants are a common pest around here and the key to successfully controlling and eliminating your ant problem is identification. Ask a pest control guy in Perth what he does when he gets a call about ants and he will tell you that the first thing he does is ask what they look like.

Here in Perth there are 4 main varieties of ant that pest control companies find the most common.

  • Argentine Ants
  • Black Ants
  • Coastal Brown Ants
  • Bull Ants

Argentine ants are pretty boring looking little brown ants. They are quite small and slender, 2.6 to 3.2mm long, and are dark brown in colour. The worker ants are similar in appearance and move in very obvious trails. They have a very distinct smell when they are crushed. Argentine ants do not have a sting but will bite but don’t worry, the bite is not painful.

The black ant or black house ant is black and shiny and about 2.5-3mm in length. These guys are a pain in the neck as they are scavenger ants. Their breeding cycle is about 6 weeks, so they can become prolific quite quickly. The most common hang out spots for these ants is in your kitchen, garbage and grossly enough, dog feces. This makes them capable of spreading diseases like salmonella so you want to get rid of black ants as soon as you find them.

The coastal brown any originated in Africa so it is referred to as an introduced species. The coastal brown is small and a light ginger-brown colour with a shiny dark brown abdomen. Their main feature though is their very distinctive “caste” sizes. The “major” ants are bigger than the “minor” ants and have a much larger head as well. There are much fewer major ants though but their job is to break up larger pieces of food so that the minor ants can transport them back to the nest. As you can imagine, these guys love a good food source but they can also disrupt your garden or your paving. They are excavators too so look out for small mounds with a hole on the top in your yard. This is a sure sign of a coastal brown infestation.

Bull ants are a species of ant that do not venture inside very much. They tend to be an outdoor kind of ant but make no mistake, the presence of a bull ant nest can be a very unwelcome surprise. The bull ant is one of the most painful biters in Australia. If you have ever been bitten you know what I am talking about and because they do not leave their “stinger” in their victim, they are able to bite multiple times over. They are known to be very aggressive so if you have a young family, these ants are something to watch out for.