Ants’ nest, everything you need to know

Ants are one of the most widespread insects on the planet. They have managed to evolve and survive various adverse conditions. Ants have existed on earth that much time, it would be better to say that we have occupied spaces where ants previously existed. In any case, the presence of their colonies from small inaccessible holes to small mounds in our gardens, is common. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about ant nests.

First, let’s characterise ants

They are essentially gregarious insects, which means that they live in large, specialised colonies. Specialisation refers to the activities that each of their components performs. Some protect, others harvest, others reproduce.

What ants require for their nests

As with all living species, the requirements are quite specific.

  • Security. We all require a roof, so to speak, a space that provides protection from the natural elements. Ants are not an exception. They protect themselves from the weather, predators, and the weakness of their young. In the first case, this refers to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. This affects their metabolism because most varieties tend to prefer stable temperatures and dark environments.
  • Feeding. There is diversity in this case because they feed on a variety of natural elements. Starch, cellulose, some also live animal tissue in the form of other insects or carrion. Hence, their nests are usually close to their food sources.
  • Extent of their habitats. This is critical because ants can spread out significantly. Therefore, they require large spaces in which colonies grow exponentially. In many cases, it is possible to find colonies that extend over areas larger than those occupied by a considerable group of humans.
ant nest

Ant nests, how many types are there?

There is a complete classification, at least of those that are most common in our vicinity. Let’s look at the most common ones:

Opportunistic ants

Ants that adapt to any place. They are the most common because their requirements are small in quality, but large in quantity. They are usually found in areas where there are easy feeding possibilities. In human homes, they find perfect spaces to occupy without problems. In houses where there is an abundance of wood-related materials, these ants can adapt perfectly because their original habitat is trees.

Ground nests

This is the case for most ant species living in the wild. They are insects that prefer the darkness and humidity that shallow areas do not offer. They can be observed mainly in gardens and open areas. Furthermore, they move the soil and decompress it, which is an invaluable service for the nutrition of arable land. In this way, they facilitate the existence of other animal species that depend on the condition of the soil they occupy.

In some cases, as in red fire ants, they signal their positioning with mound-like structures. These are formed by the movement of soil and its accumulation outside. This implies that the size of the external structure indicates the size of the galleries that exist underground.

Simple nests

These are spaces occupied in a hidden way. We cannot see them easily because they are selected for their inaccessibility. They choose areas such as cracks in a structure and find a suitable solution for their occupation. They are not usually large colonies, unless they manage to modify the space and grow in numbers.

Nests in wood

In this case, they are ants specialised in cellulose, usually occupying spaces in dead plant matter. Tree bark, especially waste areas, are commonly inhabited by this type of ant. They do not form large colonies because their range is limited to the structure they occupy.

Ant nest control

Controlling ant nests that may appear in your home or garden is a complex task. It starts with considering the characteristics of each colony. In the case of the home, control is a little more difficult and involves the periodic cleaning of the occupied areas. It is not easy and, especially in wooden houses, it even represents a risk of structural loss. But controls can be applied through insecticides or some natural elements that work to repel them. Rosemary, for example, is a scent they find difficult to tolerate. Ant control must be carried out by specialist. We do not recommend applying any treatment without specialised knowledge.

In soil ants, the situation is simpler because it requires a little more direct management that does not affect your home. Removing the soil and applying an insecticide product would be the simplest of the steps. However, one thing to consider is their work in the soil. If it is not necessary to eliminate them, the ideal is simply to control them. Protect the plants with substances that scare them away.

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