The Three Most Economically Significant Invasive Ant Species In Louisiana

Some insect pests pose nothing more than a nuisance within homes, while others can damage property or pose a health threat to humans. Most insect pests are a nuisance to residents when they infest homes, but a small number of insect pests, like termites, cause slow and gradual forms of property damage while going unnoticed by homeowners. While termites, carpenter ants and carpenter bees cause damage to structural and ornamental wood sources, other insect pests damage clothing, carpenting, curtains and other textiles. The most common household pests that damage textile goods are commonly known as carpet beetles and clothes moths, but cockroaches and termites have also been known to eat holes through clothing.

Numerous insect pests, mainly ants, are most destructive outdoors where they may inflict damage to lawn-grass, garden plants and concrete slabs. Red-imported fire ants are well known for building numerous unsightly nesting mounds that damage turf, and leaf-cutter ants damage both garden plants and turf. Some ant pests, like Pharaoh ants can worsen cracks in concrete slabs and foundations while excavating soil and nesting. According to researchers, ants are the most economically costly insect pests in the United States, and annual ant control and damage repair costs in Louisiana are particularly high due to the relatively high number of highly destructive non-native ant species that have established an invasive population in the state.

Well over 14,000 ant species have been documented worldwide, 150 of which have established non-native habitats around the world. A 2007 research study saw researchers collect 132 ant species in Louisiana, and 19 of them were invasive. The most economically significant of these invasive ant species in the state include red-imported fire ants, Argentine ants and Tawny crazy ants. All three of these ant species are frequent pests in and around homes in Louisiana, but red-imported fire ants prefer to remain in gardens, in lawn grass, and in the soil beneath concrete slabs rather than invading homes.

Have you ever found red-imported fire ant mounds in your yard?





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