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Control

  • if ants are inside, the first line of attack is to make sure the area of infestation is free of whatever is attracting them. Be scrupulously clean. Clean up crumbs and spillages, especially if sugar laden. 
  • if a nest is apparent outside, particularly if you have ant hills on your lawn, the best approach is to break up the nest or mounds and scatter with an insecticidal dust such as Quartz or Residex P
  • for black and red ants, bait stations can be effective because they appeal to the ants' sweet palate. These are also a solution if the nest cannot be located. Gel baits work in the same way and can be applied to any hard surface. (Imidasect would not be appropriate for garden ants)
  • for ants on patios and around walls, Quartz or Residex P is ideal. For a non-insecticidal approach, Oa2ki spray or powder is a good choice

  • Common Black Ant

  • 3-5mm long
  • shiny black colour
  • nest underground, under stones, in trees and tree roots
  • eat nectar, small insects, aphids, beetles, soft fruit
  • colonies have a single queen
  • winged males and queens mate on the wing June-September
  •  

    Common Red Ant 

  • 6mm lon
  • red with dark pigmentation on the head
  • nest in gardens, parks, under walls, in tree stumps
  • aggressive with a sting
  • eat aphids, insects and pollen
  • colonies can have up to 100 queens and have many sites
  • mate on the wing in August and September
  •  

    Yellow Meadow Ant 

  • 3-4mm lon
  • yellow to brown in colour
  • nest underground in meadows and lawns, also under rocks and concrete slabs
  • are rarely seen, but create small mounds of earth between grass stalks
  • feed on root aphids which they keep in their nests
  • colonies can have multiple queens
  •  

     Lifecycle

  • eggs - tiny, white and sticky so they can be moved around in groups. Fertilised eggs develop into females (queens, workers or soldiers). Unfertilised eggs develop into male ants
  • larvae - tiny maggots that shed three times as they grow and feed on regurgitated food
  • pupae - the larva spins a cocoon around itself where the metamorphosis to ant takes place
  • insects - emerge totally white, but develop colour within an hour
  • the whole process takes 6-10 weeks
  • ants can be surprisingly long-lived. Males may only survive a few weeks. Workers can live a few years but will be the first sacrifice if food is scarce and may only last a matter of months. Queens can live for many years
  •  

    Habitat

  • ants have colonised every continent, except Antarctica. There are 12,000 different types
  • they live in colonies of many thousands of ants and are extremely social.
  • they nest underground, in trees, behind skirting boards and in the walls and voids of buildings.
  • ants eat many foodstuffs and preferences vary depending on the time of year. In spring when preparing to mate and lay eggs, they prefer proteins like meat scraps, insects and fats. Late summer when young ants need nourishment to grow and the nest is expanding, they seek out carbohydrates for energy, sweets, crumbs, garden produce and drink spillages.
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