Why Are Argentine Ants So Difficult To Control?

Argentine ants originate from South America, and they were first discovered in the United States back in 1891 when specimens were recovered from New Orleans. Today, these ants have established an invasive habitat that spans most of the southernmost states, and unsurprisingly, they remain particularly problematic in New Orleans and throughout the entire state of Louisiana. Argentine ants invade homes in massive herds, and they usually gravitate into kitchens where they feed on sweet-tasting foods, meats, dairy, animal fats, vegetable oils, eggs, fruits and waste. However, due to the tremendously large size of colonies, which can contain several thousand workers and hundreds of queens, these ants typically disperse throughout entire homes where they crawl into appliances, shelves, beds, and clothing. Due to their need for moist conditions, Argentine ants are often found in dishwashers, sinks, on pipes. Any food item that has made contact with these ants should be thrown out, as they often feed on pathogen-rich materials, such as dead animals, garbage and even sewage.

Argentine ants often establish nests below homes where they can thrive above and below the ground surface. Their nesting sites are always located within moist areas, such as rotten wood, dead areas in trees, garbage piles, bird nests, and beehives. They also commonly nest below logs, mulch and concrete slabs. Although several control methods have been approved for Argentine ant control, infestations are exceedingly difficult to eliminate. The multiple queens in Argentine ant colonies is one factor that makes infestations very difficult to eliminate. Queens regularly break off from the primary colony in order to establish new colonies, and workers regularly travel from colony to colony. This makes insecticides largely inadequate for Argentine ant control, as insecticides are not designed to eliminate multi-queen ant colonies. Baits are picked up by workers and transported back to colonies, but since workers rarely return to the same colony from which they departed, baiting systems usually do not start working for weeks. Argentine ants often become problematic during droughts, as they enter homes looking for moist conditions. Sealing cracks, crevices and other potential entry points on the exterior walls of homes will effectively exclude these ants from interior living spaces.

Have you ever struggled to control Argentine ants around your home?



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