Householders in South East Queensland have been battling an ant invasion over the past couple of months. Hordes of household ants marched in single file along window ledges, through tiny cracks in brickwork or any other avenue that gave them access to homes and other buildings.
Initially, this seemed a bit strange as there had been little in the way of good rain until just before Christmas, apart from a couple of thunderstorms.
Ant Behaviour: A Predictor of Rainy Weather?
People familiar with local ant behaviour had been predicting rain on the basis of this invasion as well as the raised edges of ant nests that were growing in height with each passing day. In parks, gardens, lawns and on footpaths, dark coloured mounds appeared almost overnight. It all made sense when the deluge accompanying Cyclone Marcia arrived.
Customers were contacting Bob Gunn Termite Solutions for weeks prior to the cyclone and our experienced insect control technicians had been busy clearing houses of these tenacious invaders. There is nothing like the expectation of rain to drive ants to seek higher ground and to build up their nests to protect them from flooding. How they know when it is coming is the fodder for many a story that is not based on science, but somehow still fits the evidence.
Preparations Start Months Before a Flood
Our clients tell us that prior to the 2011 floods in Brisbane, ants were already building visible nests outside as early as September to October 2010. They were also on the move into any structure that was well above ground level, including the top of fence posts. While the rest of us were caught unaware by the extraordinary weather events that flooded almost 60% of Queensland, the ants had been making their preparations months earlier.
Once ants have forged a path into a household, as ants prefer your kitchen and any food source that is not sealed or refrigerated is fair game as far as they are concerned. We have seen ants hiding inside plastic containers where the seal has been cracked, stuck around the screw lids on jars of honey and swarming over dead moths that had been dispatched with insect spray.
Ants Also Like Warmth in Winter
Ants will also seek shelter inside buildings in winter in a bid to keep their eggs warm and to find food that may not be readily available outside in the cold weather. Their appetites are just as voracious in winter, and their sudden appearances can herald the start of a cold snap. Some experts believe they respond to subtle changes in atmospheric pressure that we are not aware of, but whatever the answer, they appear to be a fairly reliable predictor of weather changes.
Because they build up their nests before high rainfall events and seek to come inside weeks before the first showers, their arrival tends to be associated with rain. However, if food is scarce outdoors, they will find their way into your house. That is why we here at Bob Gunn Termite Solutions are ready and able to clear the little thieves from your kitchen.