You are an accommodation provider / school gardener / business owner and your guests / kids / customers are jumping around brushing ants off their feet & legs.

This time of year seems to be just wonderful if you are an ant. For some reason there seems to be plenty for ants to do as the first days of summer approach.

The simple give away signs of ant mounds on the footpath and loose sand in the garden leads us to look a bit further and just see where these ants are traveling to or from.

The small sand castles on the path usually mean the ants are right there and have plenty of small ant holes all close by. These are not really a problem as they are very small ants and easy to contain with ant dust or a borax mixture. (Recipe for that here)

The more major problem is when you see the bigger ants in a line moving in both directions, some marching away from the nest and others heading back.

These ants are the ones that get into everything and are big enough to bite kids and annoy your guests. They trail from rubbish bins, kitchens and bedrooms in fact where ever they can find some crumbs they will make a trail back to their nest.

How do we get rid of these hard working little fellas without poisoning kids, guests and customers? Plus we dont want to see ant powder trails all around an accommodation complex or school yard.
Remember too that most ants actually do a good job but they annoy us and our guests. They look bad and ant trails can go for over a hundred meters.

First thing I do is stand still and just look at a line of ants to determine which way they are marching. Simply walk slowly in that direction allowing the eyes to focus on the line they are making.

A lot of the time the line of ants will seem to disappear but as long as you are patient and concentrate on looking for ant movement you will see the line again. Even if they are in a bit of bush or rocks you will see the line of ants so just keep walking in the direction they are travelling. You may have to look a few meters ahead and side-ways from there, don’t panic you will find them again.

Eventually the activity of ants will get more noticeable and very soon you will see a mound with a hole that ants are diving in and out of. Look all around this area as there will more than likely be a few ant hills here and all close by. Most ant holes will be smaller than a five cent piece and likely have four or five holes close by. The mound around the hole is quite distinctive and if you jump up and down a bit the ant activity multiples very quickly.

The best time of day to find these ant mounds and nests is in the morning before it gets too hot. They are on the move early and easy to track.

What do you do when you find these nests? Some will be ten metres from where you first saw them on the pathways, and others will be up to fifty meters away. Either way no problem, a strong chemical mixture of ant poison works well. Just pour directly down the hole. Definitely better than any powders available and usually meaning the nest will be vacated quite quickly. By using a liquid directly down the ant hole there is no need to poison the track or pathways where you first saw them, they will head back to the nest and won’t return in a hurry. No guests getting poisoned or powder trails all around the place.

We do not recommend pouring petrol down the ant nest holes as this can be quite destructive when lighten up, especially this time of year, we don’t want a fire to break out.

Now keep in mind you will kill a lot of the ants but the rest will re-nest elsewhere, which is fine as we just want them to go marching off somewhere else, we don’t want to eradicate them altogether.

The smaller type ants actually help keep termite ants at bay so we need to keep a happy medium. We don’t want the ants get into our guest’s rooms and belongings but we do want the ants to keep those nasty little termites at bay. Plus they do clean up a lot of tiny food scraps, dead flies and bugs.

Just keep an eye out for ant trails and repeat until they head off to the neighbours property, and they will.
You can get some good brownie points with the neighbours by offering this simple advice, they will love you for days, until they realise you probably encouraged the ants to march there way, oh well.

Tracking ants is an art form and more so if you have bush, wood chips and rocks. This can make the art more challenging and more demanding but you will always find them.
Embrace the challenge and have a bit of fun with it, enjoy the reward when you find that big nest.
Just remember you are not there to kill them all off just redirecting them to greener pastures……

Hope this was useful and feel free to comment or ask questions on basic tracking and containment of ants.

We have plenty here in Dandaragan and keep them in containment not eliminated, that’s impossible.