Ant identifier: argentine ants
Most Common Types:
The Argentine ant, or Linepithema humile, belongs to the class Insecta.
What They Look Like:
Argentine ants range from 2 to 3mm, roughly 1/16 - 1/8 inches long, while queen ants are twice as long. You can identify Argentine ants by the large trail these ants make – up to thousands following each other from the nest to food source, or the musty odor produced when they are crushed. They are light brown to dark brown in color. Their long antennae are divided into 12 separate segments.
Where They Live:
Though Argentine ants originated in South America as their name suggests, they can currently be found in more than 15 countries on six continents. They live in a variety of different spaces, from cracks in a concrete sidewalk to old and rotting buildings or underneath shallow piles of leaf litter.
Where They Colonize:
Argentine ants tend to colonize in spaces that are easy to access, whether that means moist soil that is close to the surface or even homes that were previously inhabited by other colonies of ants. These ants are also fond of building their homes under small rocks or stones. It is easy to spot Argentine ants by their tell-tale trails that they make to and from their home sites when searching for food.
Steps to Prevent:
There are a number of steps that you can take in order to prevent the spread of Argentine ants in your home. Good interior and exterior maintenance of your home is essential. Argentine ants thrive in decaying plant matter and wood that surrounds the foundation of a building, so make sure to regularly clean around the outside of your house and eliminate spaces where they might colonize. Eliminating any piles of leaves or dirt that lie around your house is a great idea. Of course, keep any sources of food and water out of the way of ants.
Are They Harmful?
Although Argentine ants do not have stingers, they can bite when provoked, and they can be a definite nuisance and are an annoying household pest. Dealing with an Argentine ant infestation is no easy task, as they are one of the most problematic and persistent species that a homeowner can face. Often, it is necessary to take preventative steps beyond the normal clean up and hygiene habits that you might think of initially. Therefore, it is best to use a Combat® bait or gel product to effectively fight against and eliminate Argentine ants from your home and environment.