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Little Black Ants

There are many species of ants which appear to be small and black. However, there is a specific species of ants which is called the “Little Black Ant” (Monomorium minimum). These ants are native to North America and can be found in southern Canada as well as in the US and Mexico.

Appearance & Identification

There are many species of ant that are little and black, but only one is officially called the little black ant. The workers are no more than 2 mm long, though queens are slightly larger and may have wings during the June to August mating season. They are shiny black in colour and closely resemble pharaoh ants except for the black colour.

Habitat and Diet

A day in the life of little black ants
Little black ants have highly adaptive nesting habits and can be found in open areas of lawns or under stones, bricks, wood, and logs. Like most ant species, little black ants are attracted to sugars, proteins, oils, and greasy foods. They will eat candy, fruit, meat, cornmeal, peanut butter, crumbs, pollen, and other insects. Little black ants also like the honeydew that is produced when houseplants become infested by aphids. As they forage for food these ants will mark their trails with pheromones as a beacon to others. This accounts for the single-file stream of ants that homeowners sometimes see heading for crumbs

When outdoors, they prefer building nests in loose soil, decaying wood, and the underneath rocks. Colonies are established by one or two queens, but may eventually contain more with up to 2,000 workers.

Problems/Damage

Why should I be concerned?
At peak infestation, the pests can take over a structure and fill virtually every crack and crevice. However, most of the damage they do is localized to contaminating the food supply. Their tiny size allows them to infiltrate most commercial packaging and their trailing behaviour quickly attracts scores of ants to the source. Upon discovery, all contaminated food should be thrown out.
Tips for prevention and control
Removing their food sources may be enough to get rid of little black ants. This requires storing food in airtight containers, immediately wiping up or vacuuming spills, and keeping kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas meticulously clean. Repairing torn screens and installing threshold fillers under doors can help, as well. People’s first instinct is often to treat their homes with insecticides, but these can be ineffective and unsafe if label instructions are not followed properly.. When faced with a little black ant infestation, for effective and safe control, contact the professionals at Orkin Canada.

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