The little black ant gets its name from its very small size and the black color of its coat. The workers are only about 1.5 millimeters long.
The queens on the other hand are a little larger and measure about 4 millimeters long. They have a shiny exoskeleton and can be dark brown, black, or jet black.
I. The diet of little black ants
Little black ants are omnivores and are generally not picky about their diet.
Their diet may include seeds, meat, dead insects, fatty foods, fruits, vegetables, cornmeal, plant secretions, or fat.
With so many potential food sources, they are just as comfortable foraging indoors as they are outdoors.
II. Habitat of the little black ant
Little black ants generally live in forests and wooded areas. They can nest under rocks, in rotten logs, and under piles of bricks or wood.
But their favorite place is underground, where the entrance to their ant hill can be recognized by a small volcano-shaped mound of earth.
Inside houses, nests are located in woodwork, wall voids, decaying wood, masonry, and behind facades.
III. Is the little black ant dangerous?
The little black ants are for humans a simple annoying presence. But it can happen, in rare cases, to spread harmful bacteria or can also damage the structure of your house by chewing wood or walls.
When these ants are encountered in the wild, they are often accepted very easily. Maybe they just belong there and we are the ones invading their space.
But when they invade our property, our garden, or our house, we see them directly as an annoying and potentially dangerous threat.
IV. Little black ants in the house
Little black ants enter a house to look for food and water. If they find food crumbs lying around or containers full of goodies to eat they will not hesitate to help themselves without asking permission.
And it will encourage them to keep coming into your house to get their food. And may even go so far as to set up their colony and build a nest inside your house.
Once a small colony of black ants settles in your home, it will be a little difficult to get rid of them.
So if you see a few small black ants hanging around your kitchen or other parts of your home, you may be invaded by these pests.
Two or three that are hanging around may be simple workers looking for new places to find food.
Either kill them or take them out on a piece of paper, but be sure to clean up any pheromone traces they may have left behind.
When they have established themselves inside a house, black ants usually nest in wall voids, baseboards, and woodwork, as well as under carpets.
Their foraging trails will be very visible in pantries, on counters, in closets, and on kitchen or bathroom floors.
V. How to control the little black ant
The best way to deter the little black ant from entering and staying inside your home is to maintain a hygienic living environment.
Never leave open food or containers on counters, tables, furniture, the floor, or any other area of your home.
If you see ants in your home, you should look for possible sources of food or water that attract them inside and remove the ants from that access.
If you happen to see a whole swarm of small black ants in your home, you will need to make sure that they are ants and not termites.
You can even contact a professional pest control company if you have a serious infestation, who will send trained exterminators who can help you identify the pest and then implement a plan to treat the problem and prevent future infestations.
1. Understanding the ant colony and its queen
To solve an ant problem, you must first eliminate the insects you don’t see to eliminate the ones you do see. This sounds strange, but it’s true.
That’s because the queen – the one who lays all the eggs – never leaves her nest. She just stays there, fed by the workers (the ones you see), and continues to breed more ants.
So, you can spray the worker ants all the time and make them die, but it won’t work as long as the queen keeps producing more to take their place.
Instead of killing the worker ants, use them! The workers will find the bait, take it back to the nest and feed the queen, eventually killing her and eliminating future populations.
2. Watch the ants enter your home
The next step in controlling ants is simply to watch the ants that enter your home to see where they come from and where they go.
The only purpose of the tiny ant invasion of your home is to search for food. And once the little black ant finds some, it will return to its nest with the crumb, leaving a trail of scent behind.
In doing so, the ant leaves a chemical path for her fellow workers to follow to collect more food.
When you notice ants invading your home for the first time, they can form an obvious trail that you can easily follow to find exactly where the ants enter.
3. Make an ant bait
Indoors or outdoors, ant bait is the most reliable way to eliminate little black ants.
Outdoors, place ant baits near the feeding paths near the nest. You can use them around the entire perimeter of the house for immediate control and long-lasting residual control.
Following the instructions on the label, place ant bait stations along the pathway you have identified.
Workers will find the bait, take it back to the nest and feed the queen, eventually killing her and eliminating future populations.
Be sure to remove any other food sources when apanaging and leave the bait in place, undisturbed, once the ants begin feeding.
To kill ants that live in cracks, crevices, wall voids, and baseboards, apply the baits at various locations along the walls and paths used by the ants.
You won’t see an immediate decrease in the infestation. Things will probably get worse for a while before they get better.
That’s a good thing because we want as many of these tiny worker ants to take the bait back to their nests.
This is a very effective long-term solution to get rid of the little black ants in your kitchen for good.
4. Do not wash the trail
While general cleanliness is an important part of managing an ant problem, you don’t want to wipe out the ant’s smelly trail until you’ve eliminated the entire colony.
Take advantage of the trail to put your bait through them. Once the ants are gone, you can clean the trail area thoroughly.
In addition to wiping down surfaces and vacuuming floors, it is important to store food properly. An ant can easily climb into an open box of cookies, even if you have rolled the inner bag tightly and used the tabbed closure feature on the top of the box.
When in doubt, always remember that the average manufacturer’s packaging is rarely designed to withstand the invasion of tiny ants.
5. Be patient
The ants will take the insecticide bait back to the nest, but it may take several days or even weeks to eliminate the colony if it is very large or if it has several queens, as some species of ants do.
You may even have to replace the bait if the ants have emptied it.
6. Throat them
Fixing water leaks and removing all traces of moisture is essential for the prevention and control of most pests, such as cockroaches.
Like all living creatures, ants need water, food, and shelter to survive.
Ants leave the shelter of their colony to find food and water. Don’t make it easy for them! Keep food sealed, floors swept, and all surfaces cleaned and dried.
A wet sponge or un-wiped bathtub is a pool of water for little black ants.
7. How to treat a nest in a wall or hollow area
Indoor nests (voids) are found in hollow doors, window sills, behind baseboards, or other natural hollow areas.
These are areas that require special inspection. Ant damage can be very unfortunate.
If you think the nest is in a wall, drill through it and treat at least 50 to 100 cm from the side where the ants enter, so that you can treat the nest directly and eliminate the queen manually or by vacuuming with a good vacuum cleaner and discarding the bag right after.
This drastic method is recommended when other methods do not work.
Making the necessary repairs will help prevent re-infestation.
8. Know when to spray
If you have spotted the nest of the little black ants that are invading your home outside, you can spray them in their own home.
You can flood the ant nest with hot water or a homemade preparation or simply with an insecticide spray that you can buy in a specialized store (following the instructions on the label.
VI. Grandmother’s tips against little black ants
1. What do ants hate?
The ant, like all insects, does not support certain mixtures or smells. So, if you place a small dish filled with coffee grounds, lemon slices, or even basil leaves on their place of passage, these little bugs will end up hating coming to your place.
Ants also hate green sage and camphor, so place them in closets and cupboards.
2. Natural ant repellents
You can also draw a line of cayenne pepper, chili powder, flour, or baking soda across their path, this will discourage ants in their tracks.
If you have spotted their nest, flood it with hot water, with 200 g of diluted black soap, or squeeze a lemon into the nest and leave the bark.
Washing the floor with black soap is also effective against invasions of ants, those tireless little workers.
3. Coffee grounds and sugar
Ants hate coffee grounds so much that it’s hard to imagine. So to get them out of their anthill and into a better place, simply pour your coffee grounds into their entrance hole whenever you have some on hand.
It’s almost certain that within a few days, you won’t see them around anymore. The concern with this method is that you would have to find the ant farm first.
So you can put baking soda or borax, mixed with sugar, which remains one of the foods that attracts the little black ants. Then by bringing it back to the anthill, the workers will poison their queen and the larvae that would eat it.
VII. Getting rid of the little black ant in the garden
The most effective method consists in pouring boiling water on the nest, to which you will have added washing-up liquid (preferably organic), and even a few drops of essential citrus to dissuade the possible reconstitution of a new colony.
Scalded and engulfed, the ants will prefer to leave your garden to live elsewhere.
Another alternative: pour a good quantity of wine vinegar with a squeezed lemon directly on the ant farm.
Be careful, if it rained on the day of the operation, remember to repeat it the next day.
Finally, don’t forget that ants are predators of many pests.
VIII. Ask a professional for help
In case you can’t get rid of those little black ants that invade your house or garden despite all the tricks and products you use against them, you should turn to a professional.
Remember that pest control professionals are trained to identify ants and know which species will respond to which treatments.
Even when dealing with populations outside of your home, it is helpful to call in the professionals if the methods already mentioned above do not work.
They can treat the inside of your home and the surrounding area to create a sort of barrier that helps keep ants out and control any ants that enter.
The little black ant is not a harmful insect and is very useful in the balance of the ecosystem except in the case of a large infestation of a house or garden.
Even in this extreme case, it is better to try as much as possible not to kill them but rather to make them leave in a so-called peaceful way.
The ants you see hanging around your kitchen are worker ants. Their job is to find food and bring it back to the ant farm to feed the queen and her larvae who are carefully raised to become the next generation of worker ants.
In the event that their nest is inside a partition or in a wall inside your home, you have no choice, in most cases, but to kill them to get rid of them.
For this reason, these workers are your ticket into the colony. If you spray and kill these ants, the colony will simply send out more workers and you will never reach the queen.
The queen is the only ant responsible for populating the entire anthill. As long as she is unharmed, she can produce more ants to infest your house.
The more little black ants she makes, the more they will need to eat and drink.
Just be aware that the queen ant never leaves the nest once she has established her colony. There is no need to spray the workers, as they will be replaced immediately.
The most important thing, in this case, is to eliminate the queen in the house.
Little Black Ant, Monomorium minimum
Ants learn fast and do not forget: associative olfactory learning, memory and extinction in Formica fusca
Experimental investigation of ant traffic under crowded conditions