Is the Humble Ant a Friend or a Foe?
There are more than 12 000 different species of ants in the world. Did you know that an ant can lift 20 times its body weight? Certain queen ants are able to live very long (many years, in fact) and produce millions of baby ants! Ants can be as little as the dot on a page or almost a few centimetres in length.
But the big question here is – is the ant a friend or a foe?
Ants are excellent diggers, turning over and aerating the soil by tunnelling the ground so that water can penetrate the soil easily. Ants also assist in dispersing seeds of numerous plants, and in many instances, ants will dislodge insects that are harmful to flowers and plants as they search for nectar on the stems of plants and not on petals. Furthermore, they are predators and will eat slugs and caterpillars and other harmful garden pests. Ants in the home feed on the eggs of other insects that are problematic such as cockroaches, flies, fleas and bedbugs. Ants are also a food provision for certain birds, frogs, fish, other ant species and mammals.
Ants become problematic when they invade our homes and gardens when they seek shelter and food – this happens especially when there are drought conditions. In some instances, ants are invited into our homes without our knowledge and become a problem, especially when we leave food out and they come in search of these food sources. When the nests of ants become large, it is almost impossible to keep ants out of the home.
When ants start invading our environment, they become a real nuisance and extremely problematic. The only way to eliminate this problem is by making use of the services of a professional pest control company where they will be able to identify the source and unearth the nests.
Ant infestations are a huge problem and before we know it, they can get into almost every single item of food when they invade our homes. This is when it is necessary to call in the professionals to eradicate the problem for once and for all.