Are you bugged by tiny terrors?

The mosquito behind the Zika virus seems to operate like a heat-driven missile of disease.
The mosquito behind the Zika virus seems to operate like a heat-driven missile of disease.
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Don’t let ‘em bug you.....but you might have no choice!

The mild weather is leading to ants, wasps and other insects being out and about earlier than usual this year.

Black garden ant

Black garden ant

A particularly mild winter has meant that our formidable friends are ready for action sooner than usual.

But if you want to get rid of ants, there’s not much you can do except get to work on them with poisons .

Bill Thornley, owner of Lancashire Pest Control, said: “We’ve definitely been busier lately with ant problems – wasps as well. It’s usually mid July before we get called out to wasps’ nests.”

Lasius niger, to give the black garden ant its fancy name, is found commonly all over the country.

Its usual habitat is the garden but they are quite happy to move indoors if they have incentive and opportunity and are particularly drawn to sweet things, whether they be bowls of sugar or a discarded pop bottle top.

Lancashire wildlife wizard Graham Workman, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles’ biodiversity officer, said that smaller pharaoh ants are becoming more prevalent these days but the black and brown ants still hold sway. He added: “We have all had to put ant killer down from time to time because there’s not a lot else you can do.

“Ants like the garden but they like homes too, especially if there is a stable environment.”

As for those flying ants that we might be seeing in a few weeks’ time, Graham added: “They are all queens who fly off to start new colonies. They don’t travel very far and once they have started their new colonies, their wings fall off.”

Lasius niger colonies can reach in size up to around 40,000 workers but 4,000 to 7,000 is around average.

A black garden ant queen can live up to around 15 years and it has been claimed that some have lived for 30 years.

The mild winter plus the combination of the recent warmer weather mixed with rain showers will create ideal conditions for slugs.

Once hatched the youngsters will be looking to feed their ferocious appetites and will head straight for the tender foliage of young plants.

And at other extreme, one householder recently told of her terror after finding a deadly Asian Hornet in her home.

The huge bugs can kill with a single sting and have venom that melts human flesh.

There are fears the invaders have now crossed the Channel after the latest sighting in Devon.

Shocked Beverley Palfreman, 55, ran for cover after seeing it on the windowsill of her country home.

Asian hornets are not yet officially recorded in the UK, but expansion from non-native population in South West France is a threat.