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These ants are driving us crazy……!!!

by Thanyawan

Let me give a brief description of the most common types of ants you will find in and around your home in Thailand.

 

The Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)
These are the smallest ant species measuring only 1.5–2.0 mm in size and yellowish/light brown in colour. The mother colony starts outside your house and they send their workers inside your home to set up sub colonies inside.

They live within cracks within the walls, electric sockets and in between tiles – anywhere where they can set up a new colony with multiple queens in any nest!! They feed on anything with a preference towards sweet foods. They can eat dead insects, blood, meat and sweet left-over food. So their choice of locations can vary greatly, from food processing plants to hospitals, as well as your home. They breed all year round and after the queen has mated, she will split up and move on to a new nest to set up a new colony. These ants do bite and will produce an irritation, rather than pain. These ants are very difficult to treat for DIY pest control. If you spray these ants, it will have the effect of splitting the colonies further, escalating the problem even more. The only way to treat these ants is by using bait that is supplied to Licensed Pest Control Technicians.

 

Indicum Ants (Monomorium indicum)
These ants are still quite small, measuring 2.5mm to 3.5mm in size and dark brown in colour. They generally make their nests outside and they go out to forage for food. You are more likely to see them on a wall than on the floor. You can identify these species as they move quickly on work surfaces. If there is food left on the side, they will crawl on to it and eat it, then defecate, changing the taste of the food. They make their nests outside, and then invade your home in the search of food. They are generally sweet feeders with a preference to protein food. Because of this fickle nature, they are actually very difficult to treat. Yes, they bite, but it is no more than irritating.

 

Fire Ants (Solenopsis geminate)
These are nasty little ants with a worldwide reputation to bite. They are 2mm in length. Workers have powerful stings and are the bane of children running barefoot in the grass. If you mistakenly stand on a nest, workers will slowly

cover your feet and lower legs and then all sting at once. The stings feel like a burning sensation and some reactions can result in itchy swollen pustules on the skin.

Oil and protein sources, such as tuna baits, are particularly attractive to them and they can be found occasionally in kitchens. These ants are not to be messed with and should be dealt with by trained Pest Control Technicians.

 

Odourous Ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum)
These ants are 1mm in length, with head and chest black in colour. They make their nests on top of the ground and within the root zone of a tree. They particularly like bamboo trees and any tree where there is moisture.

These ants, when they enter a kitchen area and find food, whilst they feed, again they defecate on the food and that makes it smell! These ants again bite but it is nothing more than irritating.

 

Crazy Ants (Paratrechina longicomis)
They are between 2-3 mm in length with yellow and brown hair on their body that is black and brown in colour.

They live outside the house and their workers scatter to forage for food. This makes it very difficult to locate the nest. As they forage, they leave a pheromone everywhere. This causes other workers to try and pick up the strongest scent that creates their “crazy and erratic” behavior.

They like to make their nests in cracks of wood and where there is a damp surrounding. You can sometimes see these ants move their eggs to new nests. These ants do not bite but just tickle with their movement on your body.

 

Weaver Ants (Oecophylia smaragdina)
These are a red rustic colour and are 7-11mm in length. These are the ants that provide local Thai people with their eggs for food – Kai mut dang. Ask your Isaan wife or girlfriend about them.

They make their nests on the tree leaves, like mango trees. The leaves stick together by a sticky substance the ants secrete from their body.

These are very aggressive ants and will defend themselves effectively by biting and spraying an acid on any living thing that attacks them. They can leave the skin feeling itchy and local swelling can occur.

 

Ant Facts

  • Ants have a natural built-in barometer that can detect rain. So if you see ants carrying eggs, you can accurately guess it is going to rain.
  • Ants can gnaw through paper and plastic bags. Make sure all food is stored in sealed containers.
  • Ants have two stomachs – their own and a social stomach that feeds the young and the queen. Pest Control Technicians take advantage of this for treatment.
  • Ants are the strongest living creature, with the ability to lift 10 times their own bodyweight. This puts human strongmen and power lifters to shame!