What Do I Need to Know About Little Black Ants as A Homeowner In NJ?
Little Black Ants scientifically known as Monotony Minimum are small, dark colored ants native to North America but predominant in the eastern parts of the United States and other regions like Southern California. The ants commonly appear during warm seasons like summer and can be found on sidewalks or pavements where they roam searching for food.
As the name implies, this ant species is very small only .08” of an inch for the worker and soldier ants while the queen can be a little larger. The Little Black Ant has a very shiny body that ranges from very dark brown to black in appearance.
The ant’s body is divided into three distinct parts, the head, the mesosoma, and the gaster. It also has two antennas protruding from the side of its tiny heads. The antennas are important for smell and hence foraging for food.
The head carries its compound eyes and mandibles.
The mesosoma forms the attachment for the three sets of legs the ant bears. It also carries the muscles that provide strength for its movement. The ant also possesses a hooked claw attached to its legs that are necessary for climbing walls and other objects.
The end section of the ant, the gaster, contains the stinger which it uses for protection from other insects. The stinger does not have any effect on humans because of the tiny size of the ant.
Occasionally these ant species engage in what is known as gaster flagging. When a group of ants encounters a distressful situation, they join their gasters together and shake them forcefully in the air. This action releases poisonous substances that protect them and their food from other insects.
Similar to most any species, the Little Black Ant live in colonies which consist of workers, soldiers, and the queen. The colonies can range from a moderate group to a large group of ants. Although small in size, these ant species is fiercely protective of its food source and easily chases away larger insects. Little Black Ants sometimes have two queens, which is unusual in ant colonies.
Little black ants usually roam outside of the home but can be found indoors as well. Often, they can be found in places with a bit of coverage such as underneath rocks, bricks, tree logs and objects of the like. Sometimes the ant colonies can form in proximity to a house, and occasionally they can form colonies inside of the house. Indoor colonies can typically be found in wall voids or the masonry of a foundation. For example, if a home has a brick or stone veneer, they can be found nesting in this void. In most cases, if large numbers appear in a home, their origin can be traced back to stacks of wood, tree stump, trees, fencing, under stones or landscaping mulch.
Little Black Ants are common in wooded areas but can also adapt to other regions as well. This ant species have very evolved nesting habits and can form a habitat in almost any area.
Little black ants are omnivorous. They feed on almost anything including sweets, meats, oils, fruits, grease, pollen, insects and bread. Sometimes they can attack and eat other insects as well. During the hunt for food, the ant colony usually travel in a long, straight line. They maintain this line by releasing a trail of pheromones that allow other ants trace back a food source once it has been found.
Little black ants have an unusual reproductive habit. They come in swarms between June and August, during which they mate successfully. After the mating season, both male and female shed their wings, and the males eventually die soon after the process. Ant colonies multiply rapidly after the mating season and can increase to massive swarms.
Although Little Black Ants do not pose physical or health concern to humans, they can be quite uncomfortable to have in such large amounts around a home or office.
Signs of An Infestation
Usually, when there is an infestation of Black Ants, you will see many crawling around in various parts of the house such as the bathroom and kitchen where they forage for food and water. They also hide within cracks or gaps in a wall, so check these spaces if you are concerned about an infestation.
How to Avoid Little Black Ants
As with many other types of ant species, it is important to perform inspections around the home foundation and landscaping mulch beds for Little Black Ant activity. Early detection will allow these ants to be controlled on the exterior of the home before they gain entry indoors.
Unfortunately, when they enter the home, Little Black Ants may be difficult to eradicate. It will take a lot more than spraying insecticides to get rid of a colony. The best way to control Little Black Ants is to make drastic changes around the home. Remove scraps and other food sources around the house. Block their entrances and fill cracks or gaps in the house. Use chemical deterrents as a final option of getting rid of the ants.
Like most Ants, Little Black Ants enjoy eating sweet foods like honey and sugar but are also drawn to everyday food that humans eat. As a result, it is important to store your food properly by sealing them in containers. Glass containers are the best storage containers for repelling ants. Also, any scrap or spillage of solid or liquid foods should be cleaned up as quickly as possible. The trashcan should also have a tightly fitting lid and should always be covered. What a lot of people don't realize is that the trashcan is one of the biggest attractions for ant colonies. Another overlooked spot is pet food. Most times people leave pet food lying around in bowls for days, which eventually attract Little Black Ants.
When it comes to blocking entrances little black ants are quite small and can squeeze their way through almost any hole. Therefore, you should frequently check for any holes or cracks in your home that can be traced to the outside. To locate these cracks check for any ant trails around the house, they usually come from a food source and lead to a “cave,” the crack. Once the crack or hole is found, you should seal it with silicone caulk.
Other recommendations for avoiding Little Black Ants include getting rid of decomposing wood, and other rubbish that lay around your property.
Should You Hire a Professional?
It is possible as a homeowner to get rid of little black ants from your home and its surroundings. But it can be time and energy consuming and if you have none to spare it may be best to hire a professional. Professionals usually perform a thorough inspection and provide the best recommendations and approach to eradicate and prevent the infestation of Little Black Ants. Also, they have a lot of experience and will be better at tracking and sealing gaps and cracks in the walls or foundation of a home. Finally, professionals have proven techniques to eradicate little Black Ants and other insects safely, which should be the number one concern.