There are two types of ants in South Africa that are seen as pests due to the amount of damage they can cause – the Pharaoh Ant and the Black Ant. All ants are foragers and will infest all areas where food is available. Whilst Pharaoh ants prefer protein food types, Black ants prefer sweet foods (sugary foods). In general, ants follow well-defined trails so one can spot their harbourage sites by following the trail. Although one does not really hear of ants spreading disease, it is possible due to them walking over faeces, sputum and carrion and then infesting human foods. Pharaoh ants are generally the biggest threat with regards to spreading disease as they prefer to forage in unhygienic areas such as around drains and in bins. They are generally found in areas where there are water sources, such as a kitchen or a bathroom.
Although ants play an important role in nature, they should not be infesting people’s homes as they can be a great nuisance and cause a lot of unnecessary and costly damage. The Black ants usually nest outdoors in walls and under paving whereas the Pharaoh ant nests wherever there are humid conditions, such as in buildings or outside in warm climatic areas. One does not want a Pharaoh ant infestation, as their colonies could reach up to 300 000 including multiple queens, whereas Black ants usually only have one queen. Don’t be fooled that Black ants aren’t a nuisance as well though, as their colonies are also vast if undisturbed for a long period of time.