Louisiana is home to several invasive ant species, most notably red imported fire ants and Argentine ants. While fire ants pose a public health threat on account of their venomous stings, Argentine ants do not sting or bite humans; instead, Argentine ants are known for being nuisance pests within homes, buildings and a multitude of other locations. These ants have also proven to be a serious threat to the natural environment, as they displace native and ecologically beneficial ant species.
Argentine ants were first discovered in Louisiana back in the late 1800s, and today, these ants can be found throughout the state and in several other states located in the lower half of the United States. As their name makes clear, Argentine ants originate from South America, and they continue to be transported into the US today, as they are often present within exotic plant materials brought into the US from South America by horticulture enthusiasts.
Although Argentine ants do not bite or sting, they are capable of infesting homes, buildings, vehicles, boats and just about any other location imaginable. Argentine ants can infest a location rapidly and in massive numbers, making infestations difficult to eradicate. Preventing Argentine ant infestations is also notably difficult due to their unusually nomadic lifestyle. Argentine ant colonies are often substantial enough to span large areas of land requiring the cooperation of multiple districts in order to enact effective control strategies.
For the past several years, researchers at Louisiana State University have been perfecting control strategies that are developed specifically to control the spread of Argentine ants into neighborhoods and environmentally vulnerable regions. These control efforts require the cooperation of all residents within a particular area, and sometimes residents of multiple towns or counties. These control programs make use of insecticides and bait traps, and luckily, pest control professionals and researchers overseeing these programs in Louisiana have reported great success at curbing the spread of the invasive insects.
Have you ever found numerous ants within your vehicle?