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Pest control on Ibiza and Formentera: ants.

Ants: health risks and economic losses.


There are around 12,000 different species of ants in the world, but only a dozen of them fall into the pest category for the Iberian Peninsula and the Islands.

They are social animals, living in colonies where there are well-defined roles and hierarchies, to the point that the function that an individual is going to carry out affects its morphology. Colonies may have one or more queens (depending on the species).

They communicate with each other by means of chemical pheromones, which they secrete through glands on their abdomen or other parts of their body.

In the breeding season, kings and queens (the only kind of individuals that have the ability to reproduce in the whole colony) fly in search of a mate or to look for a place to settle if they are already fertilised. Fertilisation can occur either in the nest of origin or during nuptial flights. Once the females are fertilised, they lose their wings and create a new colony.

All the new ants are sired by the queen, and the workers, who are sterile, are responsible for their care and development. To do this, the queen's abdomen is enlarged. The male's only function is to inseminate the female. A king (a fertile male) usually dies shortly after fertilising the female. It is normal for a colony to produce a small number of individuals that will be fertile, unlike soldiers and workers, although they will not normally remain in the colony once they reach sexual maturity.

Ants undergo complete metamorphosis, i.e. they go through the stages of egg, larva, pupa and adult.

They are insects that feed on a wide variety of foods, and there are specialised species and others that are more generic. In any case, their relationship with food for human consumption is usually one of the main causes of their control. In addition to the structural damage to infrastructures and buildings caused by their activity and feeding habits, as is the case, for example, with the carpenter ant.



Ants and economic losses.

Most of the damage and economic losses that ants can cause us will be associated with food, or with their food source when it is a construction material, as for example can happen with wood or even with living trees. Trees which they kill little by little by spreading the nest inside them.

They can be especially harmful in food industry establishments, or in businesses or spaces where there are green areas from which they can take large quantities of seeds. They also encourage the presence of other pests which they feed on, such as aphids, which they "graze" to feed on their secretions.

In the course of their activity, ants can also damage insulation, fabrics, packaging, etc., as well as being a nuisance, both in the domestic environment and to the customers of an establishment.


Ants and health.

Unlike other pest species, ants are not of particular health importance. But this does not mean that they should not be taken into account, or that it is not advisable to have a proper ant pest control plan.

Few ant species sting, so this is not usually a problem. But because of their feeding habits, which include scavenging on corpses and predation on other insect species that can carry diseases, an ant infestation is something to be taken into consideration if it is detected in our environment. Also, because of their habits, it is normal for them to be in direct contact with common sources of pathogens, such as faeces or organic matter (plant or animal) in the process of decomposition.

Identification and control of ants.

Identification of ant infestation:


-Damage to foodstuffs and structures.

Ant control by Integrated Pest Management (IPM):

-Prior inspection

-Control of organisational measures.

-Control of structural measures.

-Application of biocides.

For a more detailed description of our work methodology, please consult the description of our Integral Pest Control (IPC).

At Nova Control, we can carry out a Preliminary Inspection at no cost or obligation.

Pest ants in Ibiza and Formentera: main species.

Pest ants in Ibiza and Formentera: main species.

Although the number of different species that can be found spread over Ibiza and Formentera is around 30, in what concerns us, which is the effect on people and their environment, we highlight 6 species.


Argentine ant (linepithema humile): The Argentine ant measures between 2 and 3 mm, the queens about 4 mm. It is an invasive species, first reported in the Balearic Islands in 1953. Apart from the problems caused to people, it seriously affects native ant species, as well as other arthropods.

Unlike other ants, the Argentine ant can form "supercolonies". That is to say, a single anthill can have several queens, which allows them to cover very large areas of land, as well as making them difficult to control. This characteristic is even more accentuated for those territories in which they are not native, being almost non-existent the aggressiveness towards individuals of a different colony, even when it is thousands of kilometres away. The reason for this lies in the small number of queens from which all current colonies in non-native areas are descended.

In other words, where the species is invasive (as in Ibiza and Formentera), the species does not compete with itself, resulting in a kind of colonial unification, with hardly any genetic variation between individuals from different colonies, even when these are located thousands of kilometres apart.

Generally, the Argentine ant will nest in damp places, preferably with a permanent water supply relatively close by, being able to adapt to urban environments, agricultural areas or even environmentally degraded land.

They are omnivorous, feeding on almost any food source available to them.

Hormiga argentina (Linepithema humile)


Black garden ant (Lasius niger): its size ranges from 3 to 5 mm, and from 9 to 11 mm for the queens. It is a monogynous species, i.e. only one queen per nest. Their colonies have a population of around 6,000 individuals, although in optimal conditions this figure can double.

Their presence is more associated with the outdoors, i.e. garden areas, where they can not only attack crop plants or affect gardening by removing seeds, but can also enhance the presence of other pests, such as aphids, which they "graze" and protect from their predators in exchange for extracting the honeydew they secrete. If they need protein, they may also feed on other small insects.


Black Garden Ant, Lasius niger


Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum): They are 2 to 3.5 mm in size. They can be found both in natural areas (such as meadows) and in urban areas (gardens, flowerbeds, cracks in pavements...).

They build their nests under stones, flagstones, dead wood... or directly in the ground. Their nests are usually densely populated, with tens of thousands of workers.

This species of pest ant has an omnivorous diet.

The nuptial flight of the pavement ant can last from June to October.

Tetramorium caespitum hormiga de los pavimentos


Carpenter ant or wood ant (Camponotus spp.): This is a very diverse group of ants, with different species present practically all over the world. In the case of Ibiza and Formentera, there is evidence of the presence of at least 2 groups of different species, which could include between 3-4 different species: Camponotus lateralis and Camponotus truncatus.

As general characteristics for these two groups of species, we have:

Size: 3-7mm

Habitat: rather agricultural or rural areas where there are fruit trees and other types of trees (almond, carob, fig...).

Nests: C. truncatus nests in the trees themselves (hollows, bark, dead parts...), and there may be several colonies of several hundred workers, with independent queens (one per colony) in the same tree.

The C. lateralis group usually build their nests on the ground, under dead branches, dry stone walls, etc., climbing up trees to feed. They can also build their nests in beams and slats of houses, sheds and corrals, thus acting as xylophagous wood destroying agents.

Diet: omnivorous.

Flight season: June-July for C. truncatus, and April-May for C. lateralis.

Camponotus lateralis, arboreal species of ant


Cork oak ant or acrobat ant (crematogaster scutellaris): This ant is 3 to 5 mm in size. These ants are closely linked to wood, and are found in rural or agricultural areas where trees are present, even if they are alone or isolated. They can also make their nests in beams and slats, thus acting as wood-destroying xylophagous agents.

They are omnivorous, have one queen per colony and workers can become very aggressive if they feel threatened or find competitors in their territory.

Swarming season is from August to October. In spring, the overwintering colony spreads out, creating several satellite colonies that are used only for breeding (they can sometimes be seen transporting brood from one satellite nest to another).

In autumn, the satellite nests fall into disuse and are abandoned.

Close-up of a trio of red-headed ants (Crematogaster scutellaris) caring for scales - Coccidae on a fig tree in Croatia Europe.


Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis): The Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) ranges in size from 1.5 to 2 mm. It is a species native to North Africa and the Mediterranean basin, but has been widely distributed to other parts of the world through trade routes.

Because they need warm temperatures to survive, they are closely linked to the human environment, using the buildings themselves (heating ducts, lighting, walls, joints, etc.) to build their nests, move around or feed.

They have colonies that can range from a few dozen individuals to 300,000 workers. Each colony can have several queens, which allows the colony to survive if one of them dies.

They do not form flying swarms; their colonies are formed by fragmentation when circumstances allow for size and number of adults and resources.

Because of the environments they occupy, it is not uncommon for them to feed in rubbish and other unsanitary environments, and they can transmit pathogens to food for human consumption. They can also cause damage to packaging and foodstuffs, as well as stings on the body.

kuching sarawak July23th 2017 : Insects bugs Pharaoh ant  Scientific name: Monomorium pharaonis  is eating its prey macro  and closeup around my home


Nova Control has the professionals, resources and experience necessary to guarantee the correct control of pests and microorganisms both in Ibiza and Formentera, always seeking to cover the service in a discreet and professional manner.

At Nova Control, we always try to adapt to the needs and requirements of our clients, whether they are public, private or private entities.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us:

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If you have any questions or doubts, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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