Pest Guides

Black Ant or Garden Ant

Lasius niger

Appearance

Garden Ant
  • Workers are 4–5mm in length, and Queens are 15mm in length.
  • Black ants are dark brown–black in colour.
  • These ants have one small segment at the waist point, which is referred to as the “pedicel”.
  • Black ants do not sting at all.

Lifecycle

  • Queens over winter in soil and lay their eggs in late spring. Larvae then hatch 3–4 weeks later.
  • The larvae of black ants feed on secretions from the queen's salivary glands until the first worker ants emerge.
  • Worker ants continue with larval care, nest building and food foraging.
  • Fertile males are produced later in the season.

Habits

  • Foraging worker ants follow well–defined trails around food sources. Garden ants prefer sweet foods, but high protein foods will also be taken.
  • Swarming characteristics: mating between queens and fertile males takes place on the wing mid to late summer. Males perish after mating.
  • Ants nest locations: the nests of black ants are often found outdoors in soil and below paving slabs on the sunny side of buildings. The nest locations of these ants can be identified by the presence of finely powdered soil around nest exit holes.

Read more about how to prevent ants in the home and tips on how to get rid of ants.

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