Ant infestations up by more than 50% as mating season starts early

Rentokil has had a 53% increase in the number of callouts to treat infestations between January and May, compared to the same period last year.

Warmer temperatures in recent weeks have caused the ant season to start earlier than usual with swarms of red and common black garden ants evident across the country. The insects normally mate in mid-July.

Rentokil have suggested that we are clearly seeing more worker ants this year compared to last year, which may indicate larger nests.

They have warned that this may lead to bigger swarms this month when they take nuptial flight (become flying ants).

Rentokil is advising home and business owners to be vigilant against ants this summer to prevent infestations indoors where they may build nests, given the chance.

Dr. Colm Moore, the area technical manager for Rentokil, said: “Ants are more than just a nuisance for homes and businesses.

"Ants can pose a serious problem if they get into food supplies, they can also damage property, structures and equipment. They also can help the spread of diseases in high risk or sensitive areas e.g. hospitals."

Here are some tips for preventing ant problems in your home and business:

Be smart with food

  • Make sure to carefully clear away all discarded and unwanted food. Clean up any spillages as soon as possible. Check any cracks and crevices for food crumbs. Don’t forget about pet food. If it’s not eaten, it will attract ants.
  • Take care with how food is stored. Sealed containers are a great way to hygienically store food safely. Sealed bags are also useful for small food items such as biscuits and snacks.
  • Pay particular attention to sweet sticky food and baked bread or cakes. Don’t leave them lying around.
  • Ants also like sweet liquids, so store your juices and minerals in the fridge.

Stay tidy

  • Keep all cutlery, utensils, and surfaces clean. Tiny scraps of discarded food or liquids can become an invitation to ants. Don’t leave dirty crockery lying around; wash it as soon as possible.
  • Wash down surfaces where food or drinks are prepared or stored. Remember to take out the rubbish each night, leaving rubbish in the kitchens increases the risk of an infestation.
  • Be aware of exterior risks too. If tree branches touch your home, for example, they could provide an access route for ants. Keep your garden trim and tidy.

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