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ant with food

What Is The Role of The Scout Ant?

Have you ever been in your kitchen and noticed a single ant wandering around? Well, this is not an ant that has lost its way. It has a purpose, sent ahead on a mission on behalf of its colony. These ants are known as scout ants. Their job is essentially to look for food. Once they discover something edible, they then go back to the nest for reinforcements.

What can you do if you see a scout ant?

You may have noticed that ants in your house often seem to disappear during the autumn and winter. Once the weather starts to improve, though, they soon emerge again to irritate homeowners once more. When ants realise that it’s getting warmer, they start to become more active. At this point food supplies are running low from winter, so their first priority is finding sustenance.

The stealthy invasion of your home in spring by the common black UK ant species usually begins with the appearance of a scout ant. You see, it would be far too risky to send everyone out at once. Instead of doing that, the colony elects to send out this pioneering ant, whose job it is to have a look around the local area and see what’s going on outside the nest. It’s also their job to find a food source.

When the scout ant discovers food, they quickly make their way back to the colony. When doing this, they leave behind a pheromone scent trail which leads back to the source of food. The ant gets back to the nest and alerts other ants. These ants will then follow this pheromone trail back to the source of food. Before long, your kitchen will be swamped with ants crawling everywhere.

What to do about ants once they’ve invaded

Once they’ve found your kitchen, the offending ants will return over and over again to look for food – and make your life a misery. So what’s the solution? First of all, try to make sure that these scout ants do not make it back to the nest. If you see one of these ants, blast it with a mixture of vinegar and soapy water with a spray bottle. Then douse the area around your kitchen door with a vinegar solution as this destroys the smell of their pheromone trail. Ants are also bothered by the smell of peppermint and cinnamon.

scout ant in the house

Along with these deterrent activities, make sure that there’s nothing for the ant to find in the first place. This means that all food waste should be cleaned up. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink, or food debris on your countertops or floor. Your dustbins should also be frequently emptied and not left to overflow.

The bottom line is to keep your kitchen as clean and tidy as possible. Pack away food and clean up after preparing food. Remember, ants are extremely difficult to get rid of and prevention is always better than cure. If you do have an uncontrollable ant infestation, we have a very experienced London ant control team who are able to help.


Sally has been writing on the subject of pest control for 4 years. She always carries out extensive and in depth research and always tries to bring you the most up to date, interesting topics.

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