Rabbit And Ants
Rabbit Pest Control
The European Rabbit :
- Small, grey haired, mammal
- 34 – 45cm long, 1.3 – 2.2kg in weight
- Has long ears, large hind legs and short, fluffy tails
- Rabbit Breeding
- The phrase “breeding like rabbits!” is not an empty one :
- A rabbit pregnancy lasts just 31 days
- Each litter contains 2 to 12 rabbits
- They can produce 4 to 7 litters per year
- Resulting in 30 to 40 young produced per year
- They are of reproductive age at just 3 to 4 months old
- Young are born into a nesting burrow, where the mothers return to suckle
- Rabbits as Pests
Rabbits are a particular problem for gardeners and farmers, eating any kind of vegitation, including flower gardens, tree sapplings and food crops. They are estimated to cause £100 million of damage every year.
Rabbit population management
Rabbit populations can be brought under control by shooting and trapping. A rabbit proof fence (3ft high) can also ensure rabbits don’t freely wonder onto your land.
For gardeners, swapping to plants that are less attractive to rabbits might also be considered. For example, Arum Lilies, Cactus, Red Hot Pokers, Iris, Daffodils, Bottle Brush, Heather, Marigolds, Lupins, Agapanthus, Aloe, Lavender, Jasmine, Black Eyed Susans, Freesias, Foxgloves, Oleander, Rosemary and Sage.
Ant Pest Control
The common black garden ant (Lasius niger)
Ant Key Features
- Black ant colonies can reach 15,000 workers in size, but 4,000-7000 is the average
- Ants will eat ripe fruits with thin skins, seeds, flower nectar, flies and other small insects
- Black ants will farm aphids (plant eating insects) for honeydew, increasing plant damage
- Ants can borrow through bricks and mortar in their exploratory routes
Winged reproductive males and females engage in “mating flight” during July and August. The females go on to establish new colonies, as “Queens”, whilst the males die off. A female only mates once in her lifetime, storing enough sperm to build her future colony. The mating flight prevents inbreeding by spreading the ants over a large area, increasing contact between neighbouring colonies.
The queen finds a suitable location for her new colony and starts producing eggs. The resulting “workers” are infertile females who take over the running of the colony. Once hatched, the larvae initially feed on unhatched eggs and then on regurgitated food given by the workers.