The bull ants or Myrmecia Gulosa as their scientific name is, are a species of very aggressive, large insects mainly found in Australia. Commonly called jumper ants, they’re a pain to deal with.
Bull Ants Characteristics:
Scientific name: Myrmecia Gulosa
Colour: Black with some red colour on the abdomen
Body: Strong and large mandibles, divided into three sections: the head, node, and postpetiole
Size: 8mm to 40mm
Antennae: 2, consists of 13 elements
Bites or stings: Venomous sting
Danger: Have a lethal effect on humans if numerous stings occur. Anaphylactic shock is the extreme reaction of the human body to an antigen.
- When the queen starts to mate, she digs the whole within the nest and lay eggs there. The species build two types of nests - simple ones with a notable shaft in the centre of the hill, and more complex ones which are structured underground and surrounded by mounds.
- The bull ants life cycle passes through four stages - eggs, larvae, pupae and mature phases. The full transformation from egg to an adult takes several months.
- Almost all of the hatched eggs are born female. All of the eggs from the hatched badges usually grow in a particular role - workers or soldiers.
- The queen bull ant actually goes out to scout for food for the baby ants on her own.
- While searching for a colony up to four queen ants work together to find a proper nesting area. After the first generation of worker ants is born, they fight each other to the death until one queen is left alive to develop the colony.
- Bulldog ants usually nest outside - under soil, rocks, logs, in forests and gardens. They can also inhabit sandplain, desert areas and coastal areas.
- Bull ant colonies consist of three types of ants: female workers (sterile), fertile females and winged fertile males. Each type of ant has its place in the nest with sterile female worker ants hunting on the ground. Fertile winged females fly off from the nest to create their own nest and winged males fly off to search for queens to mate with before they die.
- These ants communicate with each other by touch and smell, something that isn’t seen in any other ant species in the world.
- Bull ants are among the smartest ants in the world. They are very aggressive, especially if they feel their habitat is threatened. Bulldog ants can sting multiple times. They use their mandibles both for hunting and protection.
- Some of the bull ants show jumping behaviour, and they can jump more than five centimetres.
- Unlike other ant species, their large compound eyes provide them with exceptional sight. Each eye consists of 3000 facets.
- Worker ants are mainly hunters. They don't scout for food and cannot leave a trail of scents for the other ants.
- The winged male bull ants can pollinate flowers. While this is something rare, they are observed to pollinate orchid between April and June.
- Bull ants are usually defensive. They'll attack mainly around their nest to protect it. If the nest is disturbed, a large force of worker ants will come out from the colony to attack and kill the intruder.
Destroying a bull ant nest can be done in a couple of different ways, all of which are somewhat effective. Let’s see how to get rid of the bull ants on your property if you decide to do it by yourself:
Locate the bull ant nest
The Myrmecia gulosa nest is most often located in soil, however, it can be located in rotten wood and under rocks as well. Nests are simple at first but grow in size as the colony expands. This makes them hard to notice at the beginning of the infestation. Big bull ant nests are big mounds of dirt with entry openings at the top.
Observe the nest from a distance
If the bulldog ants feel their habitat is threatened they will attack and sting you. If there are enough stings, there is a threat to your life. That’s why we suggest you contact a certified pest controller.
Consider your mean of pest control
Choosing the proper pest control method to destroy the bulldog ant colony and their nest is of utmost importance in order to get rid of this pest efficiently. Use baits that are specifically made for bull ants. Unlike sprays, baits are preferred for DIY pest control, as the worker ants will eat them and bring them to the queen. This ensures you don’t get in immediate proximity to the nest.
Bull ants extermination methods
We’ve seen numerous methods online on how to deal with bull ants on your own. While all work to some extent, jumping jack ants are notoriously hard to exterminate, that’s why you should consider hiring a pest technician to deal with them.
Here are some DIY methods you can try to get rid of bull ants and their nests.
Use boric acid to get rid of bull ants
A lot of nuisance ants die when boric acid baits are used, however, they’re usually a lot smaller in size than bulldog ants. While you can see some results with boric acid baits, they’re usually short term and you will notice the colony of jumping jack ants return in a couple of weeks.
Pour boiling water down the bulldog ants nest
We get the idea behind pouring boiling water into the nest of the bull ants, but it can result in you causing a nasty burn on yourself rather than boiling the whole nest alive. Myrmecia builds their nests deep underground, and there’s a big chance of not drowning all of them. While you will see immediate results, they won’t last for more than a week, as the ants that survived will rebuild the nest and you will have to deal with them again.
(DO NOT) Pour oil down the nest and set it on fire
We couldn’t believe we found this as an actionable tip on getting rid of bull ants. The pest controllers in us cringed, and we are afraid that someone would try setting the ant nest on fire. Setting the bull ant nest on fire is no way to deal with them. You can cause a fire that can grow to uncontrollable sizes, and instead of calling a professional pest controller to deal with them, you may have to call the fire brigade.
Don’t, under any circumstances use fire as a pest control method, unless you want to end up on one of our pest control fails articles.
Mix borax and sugar to kill bull ants
This may be the most harmless pest control method on this list. The one that is less harmful to you, at least. Mix borax with sugar and place the bait in shallow containers near ant trails. The sugar will attract the ants and the borax will kill them. Don’t squash all the ants you see, it’s important that the worker ants bring some of borax and sugar bait to the nest. This would hopefully kill the queen.
Sometimes, trying to deal with these nasty creatures on your own can do more harm than good. If you're worried you might have an ant infestation, turn to an ant control specialist.