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Managing Ant Colony: Nurture vs Nature

Hello everyone, I’m back! I hope you guys didn’t miss me too much during my short break  After going through all the questions in my inbox, I have picked a fun topic to share with you: ant farm and a real ant colony. I wonder if anyone actually has one? 

Ant Colony: Expectation vs Reality

My nephew’s birthday is coming up real soon. Most of the time, I will just opt for the easy way out with an angpow (red packet). However, this time around I have decided to do something different, something more educational.

I got interested in entomology when I was 5 years old by removing the antenna of two ants and pitting one against the other. I am not proud of my actions and I definitely don’t want him to go down that path.

Instead, I want him to learn to manage an ant farm. There are so many life lessons to learn: from the team spirit amongst the ant castes to help one another to the patience needed to grow the colony. The intricate tunnels and chambers are already pretty fascinating. All these are made easier with modern technology. The farm is literally ready-made! All you need to do is introduce the ants into the farm and wait for the magic to happen.

Ant farm


Credit: Amazon (Uncle Milton Ant Farm)

This brings us to the real world of an ant colony in the urban setting. Some ant species had adapted really well to co-exist with us. One particular species that comes to mind is the pharaoh ants. They are pretty easy to recognise. Upon squeezing one of these ants, the body emits a sickly rotten coconut smell. Size-wise they are pretty small, around 3mm.

Their colony is a far cry from the ones you can see in the ant farm. If an ant farm is considered a mansion, then a pharaoh ant’s colony is like a small serviced apartment crammed with 20 occupants. Instead of intricate chambers, the entire colony usually squeezes into any small void in a building. Gaps in tiles, voids behind mirrors, even a cardboard box makes a comfy home for them.

So treating them can be a challenge. A foraging pharaoh ant in a house is usually just the tip of the iceberg. Spraying with DIY aerosol rarely works. The solution lies in the combination of targeted treatment with professional baits, residual treatment, and thorough inspection to find the root cause.

If you happen to be sharing your home with any ants, don’t worry. Rentokil offers Year Round Protection Plan to cover your pest problems at home, giving a true peace of mind for you and family. All you need to do is give us a call at 1300 881 911 or send us an enquiry here. Our friendly pest expert will be on their way to conduct a thorough site survey now.

As always, if you have any burning questions or looking any pest prevention tips, do drop me a message by clicking the banner with my handsome face on it. 

Until my next entry, wishing everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2019!

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