Argentine Ants

Category:

Actual Size: 2.2 to 2.8 mm

Characteristics: Range in color from light to very dark brown, and have antennae with 12 segments as well as six legs.

Habits:

  • A single colony of Argentine ants can contain up to several hundred thousand workers.
  • These ants are attracted to wet environments near food sources.
  • Argentine ants leave trails of food and spread bacteria wherever they go.

Overview

Argentine ants are prolific breeders and constantly on the go. They are considered a major household and garden pests and when introduced to a new habitat, create supercolonies displacing native ants. Argentine ants are ranked among the world’s worst animal invaders.

Argentine Ant Habitats

Argentine ants will set up quarters anywhere close to food—in the ground, between boards and timber, in concrete wall cracks and even in human belongings around the house. In temperate weather, Argentine ants are usually found outdoors next to sidewalks, around plants or underneath stones or boards. When the weather gets too dry or too wet, these ants may find their way into your home. Once inside, they will forage for food, feeding on meat, eggs, oils, fats and sweet items like fruit.

Argentine Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Argentine ants are very aggressive, and although not poisonous, do bite people. These ants are an invasive species and have the ability to bite when threatened. Argentine ants are well organized socially and will leave trails of food to avoid revisiting the same food source twice.

Because of the enormous size of their colonies, they have huge appetites which can have a major impact on natural environments. Argentine ants are particularly aggressive toward other insect populations due to their sheer numbers, resulting in a serious threat to conservation efforts and indigenous areas. Argentine ants can cause damage to homes and structures as they build their nests and forage for food and water.

Argentine Ant Prevention

To prevent an Argentine ant infestation, trim back trees, bushes and shrubs from the exterior of your home. Sealing around utility entrances will also help to reduce the chances of these pests getting inside. Spray blue window cleaner on trailing ants on kitchen counters, bathrooms and walls and wipe up with paper towels. Treat ant trails with peppermint oil, vinegar, cinnamon or baking soda. Ants don’t like the scent and will go out of their way to avoid contact.