A Definite Guide to Ants: Ants in Australia, Ant Damage, and Effective Elimination Methods

Anoplolepis gracilipes macro shot

Ants are a ubiquitous inhabitant of not only our continent but around the world. One-third of all ant types are found here in Australia; additionally, we host 15% of all ant species alone. Whether in the urban jungles or the remote bushlands, these industrious creatures have settled their colonies all over and hold a great influence on the ecosystems that they are part of. Yes, occasionally these visitors can become a real inconvenience, what with them slipping in through our windows, doors, and even cracks underneath them. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the amazingly diverse world of ants in Australia. We will be centring our discussion on the different species of ants in our country, exploring the risks they pose, the potential damages they can cause, and the most effective pest control and identification methods to regulate and eliminate these critters.

What Type of Ants are in Australia?

Australia is globally known for the abundance of ant species that are specific to the country; each species showcases different challenges to cope with pests. Being acquainted with all kinds of ants and their habits makes you develop a better approach to pest control methods. This fundamental awareness therefore becomes the launching point for successful ant management solutions that ensure an effective pest-free environment from insects in your homes and businesses.

Here are some of the most common ants encountered in Australia:

A high-resolution image of an Ant Camponotus compressus from a closeup angle
Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants

A common problem throughout all of Australia, this species’ favoured nesting location is within the wood, indicating the clear problem it poses to individual’s infrastructure. Suppose the pest chooses to nest in the wall of your house. In that case, it can seriously weaken not only the wood itself but, as an extension, your property’s structural integrity.

Carpenter ants, known to be nocturnal, need to be observed at night to discover their active trail which can lead to the nest. The fact that they usually travel in small groups makes it a tough job to trace these trails. Furthermore, carpenter ants are also known as the kings of satellite nests, setting up not just one, but many colonies to secure a corridor for survival even if the first nest is destroyed.

When it comes to food, carpenter ants are opportunistic eaters – they eat dead and living insects and do not hesitate to prey on human food sources. Yet, their most reputable characteristic is their penchant for chewing wood. Carpenter ants are a destructive species that have the potential to compromise the integrity of wooden structures and products, hence presenting an immense property risk.

Green-head ant

Green ants

The green-head ant, scientifically known as Rhytidoponera metallica, is a species with remarkable behaviours and feeding patterns that provide massive ecological benefits. In contrast to certain ant species, green-head ants are diurnal and forage extensively during the daytime on not only the ground but also on vegetation.

Being a diverse bunch of scavengers, predators and seed-eaters, greenhead ants relish a diverse diet including animal material, insects, small arthropods, honeydew from sap-sucking insects and seeds. They usually prey on the material of vegetable origins, though they demonstrate their hunting skills superbly by preying on beetles, moths and termites with the help of their stingers to inject venoms and kill them. This venom is known to be painful for humans, with the potential to cause anaphylactic shock in vulnerable humans. However, they are known to aid humans by acting as pest control for such insects mentioned above which could cause damage to your vegetation and properties

A macro shot of an ants colony
Black ants

Black ants

The black house ant, known scientifically as Ochetellus glaber, is an arboreal ant species native to Australia. Ochetellus glaber, commonly referred to as the black house ant, is commonly considered a pest due to its invasive habits as well as its disruptiveness in human households. Although it has no sting, this ant species is still not without annoyance; it has a biting technique that can be discomforting when affecting unwary individuals. Furthermore, they also emit a foul odour when crushed. Both of these attributes make encounters with the pests even more unpleasant. 

Despite being an arboreal nesting species, the black house ants are among the most frequently noticed ants and have a habit of entering human houses in search of food. Such pests are incessant in their careers, they cling to ceilings, beams, and joists as they scrutinise indoor premises for food. As they wander around foraging, they leave behind ant debris which can exacerbate the already existing uncleanliness from their presence. 

Through a high reproductive and dispersal ability, the black house ants can quickly colonise human-dominated ecosystems. Not only are these ants inclined to have subsidiary nests and a high rate of reproduction, but they can easily multiply and flourish amidst the residential areas which greatly complicates the ant population control. As they are tenacious and reproduce quickly, it is all the more important to practice proper ant infestation control to maintain a pest-free home environment.

Ghost ants

Ghost ants

Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), are small invasive pests that can make their homes inside floors, ceilings, kitchens, or bathrooms. These translucent miniature intruders, measuring between 1.5 and 2 mm in length, are aptly named because of their pale legs and abdomen, making the already difficult-to-spot species even more elusive. This translucent colour gives them the impression that they are virtually transparent and therefore hard to notice as they walk around on surfaces. In contrast with other ant species that can sting or bite humans, ghost ants do not represent a direct threat to humans, yet they may become annoyed when they enter houses looking for food and shelter. 

They are also distinguished by their specific colony structure, which usually involves various queens and plenty of worker ants. Each colony ranges from 100 to 1000 workers. They are attracted to food high in sugar content so kitchens and pantries become a high traffic area for them. Their small body size permits them entry into the smallest nooks and crannies to evade even the most sophisticated pest control approach. 

Successful management of ghost ant infestations would include finding and nailing the access points, removing food sources, and using selected ant treatment processes. Homeowners can strive to be proactive against ghost ants as well as other similar pests effectively through the implementation of preventive and control measures, thus ensuring a healthy and less pest-ridden environment.

Bulldog Ants

Bulldog Ants

Bulldog ants are considered the largest ants in our region. They can reach an impressive length of 40 millimetres or more. Bulldog ants are typically black, though some variations may exhibit a reddish hue depending on the climate. On top of that, they have large well-developed eyes, long, slender mandibles and a fierce appearance, all of which make them distinct in the ant community.

Just like their smaller cousins – the “jack jumpers” or jumper ants – bulldog ants have a pain-inflicting sting that is comparable to a bee or European wasp. 

They tend to show the most aggressive behaviour among all ants, especially when their nests are disturbed. Being fast in response to defend their home, bull ants will swarm on an attacker and often beat the intruder to a pulp through their venomous sting. Bulldog ants are solitary hunters who roam through forests and woodlands searching for prey on the forest ground. Unlike some house ants or trailing ants, they do not follow one trail but they search individually among leaves, twigs, and mulch seeking their next meal.

Equipped with a formidable weapon – a venom-carrying sting, bulldog ants are not to be messed with. In some people, their venom can produce extremely severe effects, leading to needing urgent medical attention once stung. On the other hand, some individuals will develop a strong burning sensation followed by days of itchy and irritated skin around the spot; others may only experience a slight pain that dissipates in a few minutes. 

When confronted with danger or when pushed into a corner, these tiny warriors can quickly become aggressive within seconds, prepared to give their lives to defend themselves or their nests. Their formidable mandibles have a potent bite force and in turn, provide them with the support of injecting their venomous toxin into the victim’s body.

Anoplolepis gracilipes macro shot

Keeping ants out of your property

The section above should help our readers identify potential ant pests that are in your house. Once identified, the proper procedure should be carried out to control the pest outbreak. 

To eradicate ants from your premises as quickly as possible, the first action that you should take is to correctly identify the species invading your property. Once identified, find their entryways and the sources of their food; remove them and then block any possible entries. 

Deploy ant baits on ant trails and entrances for the elimination of colonies as these baits contain insecticides which are effective in curbing the ant population. Follow this up with the usage of ant spray for immediate control.

If the problem persists, or you require a conclusive solution, contact experienced pest control services such as SWAT Pest Control, the leading pest control Brisbane. They are specialists in identifying and dealing with ants; they also achieve faster eradication of these pests from your property. SWAT Pest Control is here for you with expert, comprehensive and effective ant removal services.


Finally, handling an ant attack should be done through speedy and tactical actions. We have covered the most common ants which you are likely to have located on your property. By referring to the ant identification section of this article provided and eliminating their food sources, sealing all possible entry points, and killing these insects with the ant baits and spray, you will be able to get rid of these pests from your property.

The usage of pest control services should also be considered as a swifter and strategic method in handling your infestations. We hope this article helps you in your identification and extermination.

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