The Sydney Ants Guide

Four Most Common Types of Ants

Queen Ant

Ants are small insects that have a lifespan of 2-4 years. They live in large colonies led by queen ants. Ants can be very destructive pests. Only the Queen has wings, but they shed off once they start a new nest.

Ants have only three body parts, the head, thorax, and abdomen. Interestingly, ants can lift items worth up to 20 times their body weight. There are more than 12,000 species of ants around the world. There are more than 500 of these in Sydney.

This article discusses the four most common types of ants in Sydney. You will be informed of the various species, their appearance, life cycle, and habits, so the next time you see an ant infestation on your premises, you know which species of ants you are dealing with. Visit this website to learn more about ants.

1. Black House Ant

Black house ants are the most common ants in Sydney. They are easily attracted to your house, by habits such as simply leaving dirty utensils around the house. If you notice black spots in your kitchen, you have a black ant infestation to deal with. Here’s a useful manual about Black Ants.

Appearance

  • Intensely black and shiny bodies
  • About 2.5 mm long
  • Stocky bodies with two antennae on the head

Life cycle

The black house ant, like most ants, undergoes full metamorphosis in 44 days. The Larvae hatch out of the egg as a white grub and are fed by the adults at this point. The larva pupates and looks closer to an adult. After some time it emerges as a fully grown adult with three defined body parts. This cycle takes about 6 weeks or more depending on the temperature and availability of food. Fertilized eggs become female ants while unfertilised ones become male ants.

Habits 

These ants are a nuisance to every property owner. They scavenge kitchens and garbage, potentially spreading diseases such as Salmonella. Black house ants are extremely attracted to sweets, grease and meat products.

The most effective way to control these ant species is by finding the colony and treating it.

2. Coastal Brown Ants

Coastal brown ants are generally well known for their invasive nature. They build their colonies very fast, ensuring that it is very difficult to control them. Their sting is not painful to humans but they can cause severe mass infestation.

Appearance

  • They tend to be yellow-brown or brown
  • 1.5-2.5 mm in length.
  • Shiny, dark brown abdomen

Life cycle

Coastal brown ants lay small eggs as compared to other species. The eggs hatch into Larvae. These are fed by the adults. They pupate after several moults. Once they develop into adults, they exist in one of three forms:

  • Workers are sterile and they don’t have wings. They build nests, feed Larvae and can live up to a year.
  • Males have wings. They exist solely for the purpose of mating with the females.
  • Females have wings but they lose them soon after mating. They are the largest in size and become colony Queens. They also live the longest.

Habits

They nest in soil and build along pathways around the walls. They require dry areas for them to nest in. Also, they excavate and leave moulds along footpaths and other unsightly areas. They attack kitchens and storerooms to gain access to meat, sweets and fruits.

Since they prefer to live and move in colonies, the damage that they cause knows no bounds.

3. Argentine Ant

Coastal brown ants are generally well known for their invasive nature. They build their colonies very fast, ensuring that it is very difficult to control them. Their sting is not painful to humans but they can cause severe mass infestation.

Appearance

  • They tend to be yellow-brown or brown
  • 1.5-2.5 mm in length.
  • Shiny, dark brown abdomen

Argentine Ant

Life cycle

Coastal brown ants lay small eggs as compared to other species. The eggs hatch into Larvae. These are fed by the adults. They pupate after several moults. Once they develop into adults, they exist in one of three forms:

  • Workers are sterile and they don’t have wings. They build nests, feed Larvae and can live up to a year.
  • Males have wings. They exist solely for the purpose of mating with the females.
  • Females have wings but they lose them soon after mating. They are the largest in size and become colony Queens. They also live the longest.

Habits

They nest in soil and build along pathways around the walls. They require dry areas for them to nest in. Also, they excavate and leave moulds along footpaths and other unsightly areas. They attack kitchens and storerooms to gain access to meat, sweets and fruits.

Since they prefer to live and move in colonies, the damage that they cause knows no bounds.

4. White Ants (Termites)

White ants are just really termites. They feed on cellulose. Once you notice damaged timber around your premises, you have a termite infestation. Their bodies have 3 main parts, head thorax, and abdomen. They live in colonies. Termites have roles in the colony. Workers protect the eggs, soldiers guard the colony, while the reproductives leave the colony to mate and establish new colonies.

Appearance

  • They vary in size, usually from one-eighth of an inch to one inch
  • Termites have wings and antennae, just like the flying ants’ species.
  • Their wings are equal in length, there are two sets of them.

White Ants-termites

Life cycle

Queens lay eggs which later hatch into pale white Larvae. The larvae grow into a nymph, a young termite still shedding its exoskeleton. This process is called moulting. After several moults, the nymph grows and assumes a role in the colony. It can either grow into a worker, soldier, or a reproductive termite. You can also read the PDF about the overview of termites life cycle.

Habits

Termites like moist areas with high humidity. They live in colonies which take time to grow. They feed on cellulose which is found in plants and trees. The structural wood in your premises is one reason why termites are attracted to your premises.

Ants are among the most common pests in Sydney. Their infestation bring about so much damage and it is important to control them. Knowing the most common species and their appearances and habits is one step towards getting rid of ants.