Lasius Niger – Common Black Ant, Garden Ant.
The Common Black Ant is 2 – 3 mm in length. It has long legs which are developed for rapid walking. They have destinctive elbow shaped antennae and a large head. The Common Black Ant is shiny black in colour.
The Common Black Ant follow the state of complete metamorphous Egg – larva – pupa – adult.
The formation of a new social colony starts with a mated winged female ant digging in to the earth to produce a small cell. She lays a large number of white eggs that hatch after 3-4 weeks in to white legless grubs. The female feeds them on nourishing secretions from her salivary glands. After 3 weeks the larvae are mature and pupate within the cell. It takes less than 2 weeks for them to emerge into adult ants and this first generation will be entirely composed of workers. Theses ants can now attend to the queen and subsequent larvae by bringing a range of food materials for the nest.
Some times in late summer winged and sexually mature males and large females will be produced from the nest and will emerge in large numbers over a short period of time. This swarming often occurs in many nests at the same time and frequently in the afternoons. The winged ants fly away after mating on the wing. The male usually dies quickly and only a small proportion of mated females will survive to found new colonies.
The Black Ant has a wide spectrum of acceptable foods like seeds and insects. They are particularly attracted to sweet substances. One successful foraging worker is able to communicate the information to co-workers and the inevitable result is a vast number of ants invading and accidentally contaminating suitable human foods.
Where to look for an ants nest
Nests are formed in gardens, under paving stones, in foundations are occasionally within buildings. Generally if you follow the path of the ant it will lead back to its nest as it goes along its daily business of collecting food.
Problems associated with The Common Ant
Although they are not inherently dirty insects, they must walk across unsavory and unclean areas during their foraging exercises and this leads to ants invading houses and been considered unacceptable. Unlike the Tropical Ant which infest hospitals and other institutions. The Common Black Ant is not known to transmit serious disease organisms.