The Argentine ants originally came into the United States from South America. It is believed they may have enter into New Orleans via coffee shipments in the late 19th century. They then proceeded to spread into the country.
First of all, these ants are now well established in many southern states, have a very strong presence in California and also found in Hawaii. Some local infestations are found in many locations in various parts of the country.
This ant is about 1/16 long and varies in color from light to dark brown. All the workers are the same size. Each colony may have numerous queens. These ants do not sting. This ant may product a stale musty odor when crushed.
Habits of the argentine ant
Argentine ants can have a colony numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Ant colonies may join together to survive winter weather. Furthermore, you may not see winged reproductive (swarmers) from this ant colony due to mating inside the colony itself. This ant can be aggressive to other ant species and eliminate other ants from its territory.
Indoors these ants will prefer moisture sources such as around water pipes, sinks and potted plants. The workers will create well defined trails. They prefer sweets but will feed on proteins and carbohydrates. They will invade structures when conditions outside are too wet, too dry or too cold. Outside will nest next to foundations, under rocks, beneath plants and other moist areas. They will feed on honey dew (excretions produced by plant sucking insects like aphids), seeds and even invade bee hives.
Some interesting facts about the Argentine ant
- Argentine ants may push out other ant species in their territory
- They create super colonies in the hundreds of thousands
- These ants will forge up to 200 plus feet to food sources
It has been noted that these ants habits of crawling over everything including sewage, dead animals and other pathogenic carrying organic material they may be able to transfer disease organisms.
Control of this ant involves finding and treating nest colonies. Some sweet baits can be helpful also. Outside perimeter treatments are also recommended. If you feel you may have been invaded by this ant species it is suggested to have a professional pest management company inspect and provide treatments.