Argentine Ants

As the name implies, Argentine Ants are an invasive ant species native to South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia. However, these creatures have spread worldwide and are known to thrive in any location with enough food and water.

Scientifically known as Linepithema humile, Argentine ants can grow massive colonies and become a nuisance in the suburbs. This aggressive species produces numerous workers and boasts colonies with multiple queens allowing them to multiply and spread rapidly.

Each colony of the Argentine ants is divided into sub-colonies connected by established trunk trails. Although these creatures are very aggressive towards other species of ants, members of their colonies live peacefully. They combine to form super-colonies that may extend over large areas.

How Do You Identify Argentine Ants?

The most significant distinguishing features are size, color, and behavior.

Color: Argentine ants are light to dark brown

Size: Workers measure roughly 1/16th of an inch in length, while the queens range from ⅛ to ¼ of an inch long.

Body: They have a triangular head and unevenly shaped thorax connected to the abdomen with a single segment. They are smooth and hairless on the upper part of the thorax and head. Argentine ants have hinged or bent antennae with 12 segments.

Diet: Argentine ants are omnivores and can feed on everything. However, they prefer sweet treats such as honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs.

Behavior: Argentine ants can easily adapt to any environment and can nest in various spots. They are attracted to moist areas and will build shallow nests in wall cavities, floor cracks, under logs, and along sidewalks.

What Dangers Do Argentine Ants Pose?

Argentine ants are more of a nuisance pest than a destructive pest. These pesky creatures nest in backyards next to your home and will usually enter your home in high densities, searching for food and water. They multiply and spread rapidly, establishing large colonies that are challenging to control. They’ll get into your food or pet’s food, or anything else left out on the countertop!

They also pose a greater danger to gardens and crops, not because they feed on them directly but because they protect populations of highly destructive insects. Since Argentine ants feed on the honeydew produced by aphids, scales, and mealybugs, they offer these insects protection to continue making food that they need to survive.

Do Argentine Ants Bite?

Luckily, Argentine ants don’t bite or sting human beings. They are just a nuisance in any home. The only serious threat is that they can contaminate your food. They will crawl over trash, dead material, and sewage and bring the filth to your kitchen.

However, they do threaten the ecosystem since they are invasive and will drive out other ants that act as pollinators. Conversely, they protect insects such as aphids and mealybugs and accelerate the destruction of crops.

How to Prevent and Control Argentine Ants

You can do several things to prevent Argentine ants from invading your home. These include:

  • Getting rid of clutter and dead plants
  • Lowering moisture level in the backyard
  • Trimming bushes and trees
  • Storing food in sealed containers
  • Sealing cracks, holes, and crevices on walls

However, controlling these invasive creatures is an uphill task that requires professional help. Exterminators warn against over-the-counter chemicals since they tend to trigger an egg-laying instinct that leads to further growth of the colony. If you are dealing with an Argentine ant infestation, give Domain Pest Control a call!

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