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Two common garden ants that most of us come across are red and black ants. There are also several other small and large wood ants but these are rarely a problem in the garden.

Black ants often farm aphids and protect them from being eaten by ladybirds, lacewings and other parasitic wasps. These ants will travel long distances, climbing high up in trees to find their food. They are attracted to sugary foods which are left unguarded.

Black ants are scavengers and nearly always the problem ant in the UK where human beings are concerned. They can be seen following their scent trails along the ground in search of food.

red and black ants

Red ants generally live their lives underground and are rarely seen unless garden grass is left to grow high and they will then build large mounds of soil where they tend to raise their young. These ants will feed on sugars that are produced from fungi.

Each year during summer, ants will reproduce and become very excited on the days when new flying queen ants and males take to the air. This normally lasts for one or two sunny days. Once the queens have mated they return to earth, discard their wings and then move below ground to safety. Ant queens like queen honeybees can live for several years.