What to look for when you’re trying to figure out if you have an ant problem on your hands.

Don’t be fooled by their small size. Ants can cause more issues that you’d think, and here are some of them.

Knowing the type of ant that is responsible for your infestation can make treatment much easier.

Ants cause damage to buildings, stock and supplies. They also spread germs, making them particularly unsafe for places with people in fragile health. In Adelaide, an ant infestation can also lead to fines for failing to comply to health and safety standards.

We offer some tips on how to deter ants from your home or business before they cause a big issue.

There are many commercially available solutions as well as homemade treatments that you can consider to control an outbreak.

If you need the help of professionals, choose those with a targeted and effective approach. It should involve removing the ants at their source, and follow up treatments for long-term protection.

We understand how overwhelming an ant outbreak can be, that’s why we are available 24/7 for emergencies. Our experienced technicians are fully equipped to manage your ant problems in a manner that is safe to your children, pets and the environment. We offer affordable payment plans and a guarantee on our work to ensure that you get the best service when you need it.

When the ants go marching, it’s hardly a “hurrah” for many us who are home and business owners.

Ants have good reason to be a dreaded pest in Adelaide, and it’s not just their painful bites. Like other creepy crawlies, they forage in unsanitary areas and encounter all sorts of nasty germs. They then introduce them to clean food and places, leading to contamination and illness. Ants also damage buildings and electrical wiring.

If you’re experiencing an ant problem, this guide has tips on identifying the signs of an outbreak, which species of ant is responsible and how to prevent and remove them.

a nest of ants eating a piece of bread

Signs of an ant outbreak

Ants are generally discreet and don’t make noise or leave an obvious mess, especially when compared to other pests. However, you will get the following hints that they have set up a nest nearby:

Frequent ant sightings

  • They tend to move around in large groups along defined trails, travelling between food sources and their nest; this makes them quite easy to spot

Disturbed soil or dirt

  • Small mounds of soil or dirt with a central opening indicate an entrance to ant nest, or that a nest is nearby
  • Fire ants have nest mounds which can be up to 40cm high

Wood shavings (frass)

  • When carpenter ants carve space for their colony within wood, they leave behind discarded wood shavings, debris and other dead insects


  • Termites are not ants, but they are called white ants, and there is a reason for that. White ants have several characteristics in common with ants: they are not winged, live together in colonies and go on raids together. But termites are not ants at all; they have evolved separately.


Problems caused by ants

Despite being small, ants come in large numbers and work well together to create big problems. Ant problems include:

They contaminate food

Although ants themselves aren’t known to carry diseases, they come across many germs, including viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria, as they forage through rubbish, toilets and dog droppings. So, if they come into contact with your food, it’s best not to risk eating it.

Ants spread disease

Ants scavenge in rotting waste contaminated with germs, such as salmonella, streptococcus, staphylococcus and e.coli. They are then able to spread this bacteria by roaming around to other places. This can lead to illnesses such as diarrhoea and food poisoning.

Ant bites sting and cause allergies

The sharp sting of an ant bite is due to the secretion of formic acid. In some people, this chemical can trigger an allergic reaction, forming red bumps or an uncomfortable rash on the skin at best, and anaphylaxis at worst. Fire ant stings have been known to cause significant swelling.

They attract more ants

Ants communicate to each other through pheromones, so they leave trails of chemical markers for other ants to follow. That’s how a small cluster of ants can quickly turn into an army.

They damage buildings

Carpenter ants make nests inside wooden structures by tunnelling into beams, wall cavities, window and floor panels and floorboards.

They can also introduce moisture and soil from outside to inside your walls, resulting in corrosion over time.

Ants can damage electrical wiring

Ants crawl into electric sockets and chew through wiring, causing it to short circuit and potentially spark a fire.

They damage electrical wiring in vehicles

Ants are attracted to dead insects in your radiator grill, scraps and drink packaging, or spills inside your car. They won’t just stop there. Ants will also chew the electric wiring and relay components, which leads to costly repairs.

Fire ants ruin vegetable crops

Fire ants are known to feed on vegetables like red potatoes and okra, as well as corn, watermelon and cucumber seedlings.

If you’re experiencing any of these ant problems, reach out to our ant extermination team any time for advice.

black ants chewing on a dead leaf

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Once you are aware that you have an outbreak, it’s handy to know which species of ant is causing it. Having this knowledge makes it easier to figure out an effective management plan. These are the most common species of pest ants in Australia and Adelaide:

Black House Ant

  • Shiny and black, workers are 2.5mm to 3mm long
  • Scavenges in kitchens, garbage and dog droppings

Fire Ant

  • Coppery-brown head and body, darker abdomen, 2mm to 6mm long
  • Forages on dead animals, vertebrates, insects, earthworms, as well as vegetables, sweets, protein and fat
  • Collects insect honeydew

Ghost Ant

  • Pale and translucent legs and abdomen, 16mm long
  • Feeds on sweets, grease, insects producing honeydew
  • Nest underneath objects lying on the ground, loose tree bark, in small spaces, roof cavities, flowerpots
  • Attracted to high moisture areas such as kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • One colony can occupy multiple nesting sites

Odorous House Ant

  • Brown or black, 1.5mm to 3mm long
  • Gives off a coconut smell when crushed
  • Feeds on most household leftovers, especially sweets and melon, and pet food
  • Drawn to high moisture areas such as the kitchen, laundry and bathroom

Pharaoh’s Ant

  • Workers are yellow-brown with a brown abdomen, 1.5mm to 2mm long
  • Some have wings
  • Enjoys high protein edibles including meat, fats, dead insects and blood
  • Prefers humid conditions
  • Found in hard to reach spaces in heated buildings, including hospitals
  • Leaves well-defined trails connected with heating systems

Black House Ant

A swarm of black house ants crawling under a door

Fire Ant

Close up image of a fire ant with it's jaws open

Ghost Ant

Several Ghost ants centered around food

Odorous House Ant

a semi circle of odorous house ants

Pharaoh’s Ant

Several Pharaoh ants bringing food back to colony
black ants on red earth carrying food


Ant problems in Adelaide businesses and health care facilities

Ants cause problems in even the cleanest of Adelaide businesses and facilities. Why? Ants are usually busy looking for supplies, water and shelter, so you’ll just as likely find them wandering around your sanitary areas as you are to find them in waste areas. This means that ants are spreading all the disease-causing germs they have collected into your clean environment. Once ants contaminate your meals and stock, they put your customers and employees at risk of falling sick, and risk ruining your business reputation.

You can also end up with a costly repair bill if ants damage your buildings, equipment and appliances. Their painfully sharp stings don’t just trigger allergies – they become a dangerous distraction in the workplace, especially for those operating heavy machinery.

To make matters worse, any breach of Occupational health and safety standards can lead to heavy penalties and a costly inspection bill.


Once ants have contaminated stock, food and supplies, these things can no longer be used. This quickly gets costly if it happens too often. The sight of ant trails along food preparation surfaces, utensils, cutlery, tables, chairs and even the bathrooms is a sign of low hygiene standards, which will deter diners from returning.

Read more about ants in restaurants .

Distribution facilities and warehouses

A colony of ants will happily feed on large quantities of stock and goods, unless they are stored appropriately. They can damage wiring in expensive equipment and machinery, so measures must be taken to deter them from entering the building in the first place.

Read more about ants in distribution facilities .

Hospitals and medical centres

Ant prevention should be an important part of your hygiene and sanitation plan.
Preventing fire ant outbreaks should be a particular focus where there are people with fragile health and immune systems.

Read more about ants in distribution facilities.

Pest Control

How to prevent an ant outbreak

If you can remove potential food sources and reduce the accessibility of your home, ants will become less interested in wandering inside. Here are some ideas to help you deter ants from your Adelaide home:
  • Fill entry points, cracks and crevices using silicone and acrylic
  • Store food properly; uncovered food attracts ants
  • Store food out of sight and reduce access, including pet food
  • Wipe away spills and wipe down surfaces; if you see an ant trail on a surface, wipe it with bleach or vinegar
  • Tightly seal containers and food packaging
  • Thoroughly rinse and put away cutlery, utensils and tableware
  • Fix leaking pipes, as moisture attracts ants
  • Waste management: ensure the rubbish bin is properly covered and seal all bin bags tightly
  • Maintain your garden: clear away tree branches that are touching your home and piles of vegetation; remove all fallen and rotten fruit and vegetables
  • Vacuum floors regularly: check underneath and behind furniture

Get help from an ant control expert today


Ant control adelaide

Ways to treat an ant problem

There are many ways to manage an ant outbreak, even if you haven’t yet found the ant nest. However, destroying the nest and the queen is the best way to eliminate the issue altogether. Here are some ideas:

Pour boiling water into the nest

Be aware that the boiling water may not be able to penetrate deep enough into the ground to reach the entire nest, particularly where the queen is situated.


Baits contain insecticide chemicals, which are ingested by ants and then spread to the rest of the colony when they return to the nest.

  • Homemade baits can be made using borax and sugar or syrup, and are often just as effective as commercial baits.
  • Granular or sand commercial baits should be scattered these around the perimeter of your home, in entrances, between pavers, on lawns and around the edge of your garden. Apply with care as they are often toxic to pets and children.
  • Gel commercial baits should be applied to cracks and crevices.

Insecticide Spray

This targets other insects in addition to ants.

Water as a repellant

To deter ants you can place your pet’s food bowl in a shallow dish partially filled with water.

Strong smelling deterrents

These mixtures can be applied in a spray or left in a bowl near the ant nest:

  • Strong smelling herbs and spices: mint, cinnamon, garlic, and black pepper combined with vinegar
  • Essentials oils: peppermint, patchouli or cedarwood with water and vodka

Chalk and powdery substances

Sprinkle a line of chalk, baking powder or baby powder near entrances or along the perimeter of your home.

2 ants on a wooden tree trunk
ants on a flower


Professional ant extermination in Adelaide

If you have a major ant problem needing professional treatment, make sure you use an experienced ant control technician.

We recommend finding someone who gets to the source of your problem, so that you’re protected in the longer term.

The team at Allstate are fully equipped to target all the indoor and outdoor spots where ants feed, and to remove their nesting site. We’re available for both emergency call outs, and free assessment and quotes.

This is the Allstate Adelaide professional ant removal process:

Initial assessment

An expert ant control technician will inspect your building, examine the extent of your outbreak, look for nesting and feeding sites, and then come up with a treatment plan.

Ant removal

We normally use a combination of the following solutions to ensure success. Patience is key here – it will take time for these to have an effect, especially if the nesting site is inside a wall cavity.

  • Ant control dust is sprinkled into cavity walls and voids in the building, including the roof space
  • Insecticide forms part of treated zones which are applied to the perimeters of the building
  • Chemical baits are strategically positioned near favoured feeding sites

Follow up treatment

The team will replenish your ant removal treatment at a follow up visit, as its effectiveness dwindles over time. This will ensure you stay ant-free for longer.

Why choose Allstate?

At Allstate Pest Control Adelaide, we understand that an outbreak of ants can be overwhelming. It can also be difficult to find the time to look for nesting sites and come up with a solution to control them. This is where our expert ant control technicians can help.

As Adelaide’s leading independent pest control company, we are available to help you 24/7 in any suburb of Adelaide. We can attend for urgent or emergency problems, or even just provide advice to control ants and support through our website. Contact Us today.

Our ant treatments are environmentally friendly, and safe for children and pets, while minimising disruption to you and your business.

At the same time our control services are highly effective against even severe infestations, as proven by our 100% money back guarantee.

We also provide affordable, interest-free payment plans, making your ant treatment both convenient and accessible. Speak to an experienced Adelaide ant exterminator today.

Get help from an ant control expert today