Ants are social insects and form colonies. These vary in size (depending on species) from a dozen or so individuals to many thousands.
Ants cause problems primarily when they forage in buildings for food or water and when they construct nests in buildings and gardens. When searching for food, they can be attracted to a wide range of products with different species preferring sweets, meats, fats or oils.
Some ants build nests in walls and foundations, indoors and even in any suitable cavities, they can find. In almost all cases nests are limited to pre-existing cavities or spaces between objects or in rotten wood. They generally will not cause structural damage to buildings but will take advantage of existing deterioration.
Black House ants can form nests indoors in wall cavities, behind skirtingboards and behind cupboards. Attracted to most foods but prefer sweet foods
Coastal Brown ant nests mainly in soil, along pathways and indoors in cracks and crevices. Prefers fats and oils primarily and proteins
Ants often move nest sites when disturbed or with a change in food supply. This can make control and removal of ants difficult. They may leave for short periods only to return later when a new food source is located and they can recolonise from nearby nests very quickly.
Of the few thousand ant species that exist in Australia, only a few are considered pests.The small Black House ants and Coastal Brown ants that develop large colonies in and around houses are of the most concern.
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