If you live in southern California, you probably have seen endless single-file columns of uninvited six-legged guests walking through your home. They follow a pre-marked pheromone “scent” trail initially laid down by scouts who were searching for goodies in your pantry. Although they prefer the outdoor lifestyle, they primarily enter houses for food and water. They are fond of sweets, tuna, syrups (even cough syrup), juices, eggs, dead spiders and rodents, vomit, feces, and just about any other organic matter they can find. They are essentially scavengers and they play a valuable role in the natural ecosystem–but preferably in Argentina. In hot, dry weather they often search your home for water, including bathroom faucets and drains. I once followed an ant safari into my bathroom where they were neatly stacking their precious cargo of tiny eggs inside my toilet tank. They also relish the “honeydew” secretion of aphids and protect their aphid friends from natural predators. In the fall months as the nights get chilly, they once again seek the warmth and shelter of your cozy home. They thrive in Florida as it perfectly suits their preferred habitat. The first Argentine ants set foot on U.S. soils in the late 1890s, as coffee ships from Brazil unloaded their cargo in New Orleans. Being prolific breeders and constantly on the go, they moved across the southern half of the United States. A single colony may contain 10,000 female workers, and there may be hundreds of colonies around your home; the total number of ants could easily reach a million. Although they cannot sting, they can bite; however, they are only about 3 mm long and their tiny mandibles are too small to hurt humans. But, in the world of insects, these ants are truly a living terror. They are very aggressive and readily overtake other ant species, even ants that are much larger and with powerful stings. Argentine ants are relentless and simply outnumber their adversaries until the enemy colony is destroyed. Orlando Pest Control can help in getting rid of Argentine Ants.
This article gives you a detailed account of the life of the Argentine Ants, which can aid you with their eradication.
If you have specific questions about Argentine Ants, check out our FAQ section.
Did you know?
Most ant colonies revolve around a single queen. Growing much larger than the worker drones, she is programmed to mate as quickly as possible, then to leave her nest of origin and establish a new one.
Argentine Ants Quick Facts
Is It an Argentine Ant? – Identifying an Argentine Ant
Argentine ants are very ordinary-looking, small brown ants. They are small and slender, 2.6 to 3.2mm long, and are dark brown in color. The worker ants are uniform in shape and size and move in well-defined trails. They have a slightly greasy, musty odor when crushed. Argentine ants do not possess a sting but will bite readily, although the bite is not painful.
Where Springtails Live? — Habitat of Springtails
Argentine ants may live in soil, underwood, logs, debris, or mulch. They may also nest in cavities at the base of shrubs and trees. Their nests are often shallow, measuring up to 20 cm (~8 in) in depth in open habitats.
All Argentine ants are the same size. They travel with well-defined trails between their web of nests and their food sources. Argentine ants feed on sweets, honeydew, and oily household foods.
How Do Argentine Ants behave? — The Lifestyle of Argentine Ants
Argentine ants have a social structure in which there are numerous queens in each nest, and their nests are interconnected through an interchange of workers and queens. New colonies are formed by budding whereby one or more queens with attendant workers leave an existing nest and walk to a nearby location. While Argentine ant queens do initially possess wings these are lost and new colonies are not established by queens flying to a new location. An entire infestation covering many hectares operates as a single colony with many nests.
Life Cycle of The Argentine Ant
Like other ant species, Argentine ants pass through the development process called complete metamorphosis. Eggs are white, and larvae emerge from them after about 28 days. They reach adult stage in about 74 days.
Nests & Colonies
While other ant species have seasonal nuptial swarming flights, Argentine ants do not establish new nests through swarming. They produce reproductives that do not swarm from the nest but instead mate inside the nest. At times, due to temperature or colony pressures, a queen Argentine ant will leave her nest on foot to establish new colonies. New nests are constructed around the original, and remain connected to the queen’s old colony, so workers are sometimes shared between colonies.
Argentine ant queens are different and unusual when compared to queens of other ant species. Some of those dissimilarities and behavioral characteristics are:
- Argentine ant queens are small, about 1/6 – 1/4 inches in length, much smaller than most other species of ant queens
- Winged Argentine ant queens mate once with a winged male, after which they can continuously produce fertile eggs for as long as they live. While other ant species have seasonal swarming flights, these ants do not form new nests through mating swarms. Instead, they mate inside the nest.
- A single Argentine ant colony will have several queens, each of them capable of laying as many as 60 eggs per day.
- Argentine ant queens help workers by feeding their young. Most other ant queens primarily lay eggs and depend on the ant workers to feed and care for the young.
- Argentine ant queens are mobile and may be seen outside the nest along with workers, unlike other ant queens who reside inside the nest for life. Queen mobility enables the rapid movement and establishment of nests to other areas if conditions become inhospitable.
- At times, due to temperature or colony pressures, an Argentine ant queen will leave her nest without taking flight and establish a new nest.
Male Argentine ants hatch from the queen’s unfertilized eggs and are fairly short-lived. The single function of a male Argentine ant is to mate with a queen to preserve and proliferate the colony. The males usually die soon after mating.
How to Tell if I Have Argentine ants? — Argentine Ants Infestation
Continuous well-defined trails, sometimes more than three ants wide, of slow-moving, small brown ants of uniform size are often evidence of an argentine ant infestation. The ants will often readily climb onto a person’s hand when it is placed in their trail. Many other ant species will not do this.
Argentine ants are typically confined to urban areas and they nest outside buildings, at the base of trees or in the tree itself, along the edges of paths and in lawns and garden beds. They will thrive in swamps and low-lying areas where moisture is plentiful.
Populations peak from January to June, and they can be very invasive, coming indoors in large numbers in their search for food and moisture.
These ants are ecological pests. They attack nesting birds, hatching eggs, and other native fauna. Argentine ants will quickly eliminate other ants from an infested area — especially native ants which play an important role in the ecosystem. They will rob commercial beehives and are significant pests in orchards and sometimes larger farms. There can be a significant cost to the community in their control, which is normally difficult since it involves the ongoing and repetitive use of residual, contact insecticides.
Are Argentine Ants dangerous? — Threats of Argentine Ants Infestation
Argentine ant nests support multiple queens, these pests breed rapidly and create huge colonies that can number into the hundreds of thousands of workers. Drawn to decay and waste, the insects spread bacteria wherever they go. Argentine ants feed by transferring food from mouth to mouth, making baits more effective than aerosol or liquid insecticides.
Argentine ants kill other insects and invade human dwellings. Over time, the network of interconnecting colonies could become a massive infestation. Each colony of Argentine ants can contain millions of insects and multiple queens. These colonies can populate entire city blocks. Argentine ant infestations are best left to a professional pest control operator to identify and treat.
How to Get Rid of Argentine Ants? — Eradication of Argentine Ants
Argentine ants remain the most difficult common pest ant to control. Once cleared from an area, argentine ants can quickly re-colonize it from untreated neighboring properties. This can occur within two weeks. These are the reasons that professional help from Orlando Pest Control is recommended when dealing with Argentine Ants. All American Pest Control gives the best Pest Control packages in Orlando! You can reach them at (321) 559-7378.
How long do Argentine Ants live?
The average lifespan of an adult Argentine Ant is between 1-3 weeks.
What do Springtail eat?
Argentine Ants are scavengers and mostly feed on sweet things.
Do Argentine Ants Bite?
Argentine Ants are incapable of biting humans.
How do Argentine Ants get to my house?
Argentine Ants can enter your house through open doors or can be transported in a container that was outside.
Are Argentine Ants dangerous?
Argentine Ants are mostly harmless to humans as they do not transmit any diseases.
How can I get rid of Argentine Ants?
Argentine Ants can congregate in large numbers and can cause nuisance! It’s bet to call an exterminator. All American Pest Control is the best Orlando Pest Control company! You can call them at (321) 559-7378.