Perhaps the most widespread and invasive ant across the globe is the Argentine ant. As their name indicates, Argentine ants originate from Argentina but have since spread to South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. These brown-colored, competitive ants drive other ants out of their nests and take over the territory. Argentine ants prefer nests in dark, moist areas, such as soil, rotting wood, potted plants, under buildings and sidewalks, and inside wall voids. Colonies are very large and often house several queens; sometimes colonies even join together to create super colonies. Argentine ants love to make themselves at home in your home during the winter months when the climate becomes especially cold, wet, or dry. They are small and can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks. Argentine ants will feed on anything sweet, but their preference is honeydew excreted from aphids. Most ant problems in California are Argentine ants in houses.
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Although their bite is not poisonous, it may burn and itch. To prevent infection, wash the bite and avoid scratching. Basic over-the-counter medications, such as calamine lotion and antihistamine, will help alleviate the pain and stop the itching.
Argentine Ant Control
Argentine ants are hard to get rid of; there’s almost no stopping them! In fact, most ant control products or methods will actually spread the colony into more colonies. So, for this type of ant, calling a professional may be the surest way to solve the problem. Professionals will do one of the following things.
- Poisoned baits: Sponsor a feast for your unwanted guests. This treatment entails putting out toxic bait that the Argentine ants readily carry back to their humble abode for their—unbeknownst to them—last meal.
- Insecticide barriers: This treatment is way more effective than any “No trespassing!” signs you may have put up. It consists of putting insecticide chemicals on or close to places of entry for the ants. One example involves putting a coating of insecticide on doorsills to kill or repel intruding Argentine ants.
Argentine Ant DIY Pest Control
Be sure to use only specified products to eradicate an Argentine ant nest. Argentine ants will relocate with one of their many queens if disturbed, resulting in a worse infestation. Do not use any ant spray or dust.
- Use bait: Target the problem by using an ant bait product in order to get into the heart of the nest. To get the ants heading towards the bait, first lay down peanut butter and honey on an index card where you have seen many of the ants. The ants will leave a scented trail for others to follow to the food source; after a few hours replace the peanut butter and honey with insecticide bait. The ants will continue following the trail straight to the bait. Some pest control organizations suggest placing the bait outside in order to prevent more ants from entering your home.
- Spray the perimeter of your home: Spray doorways, windowsills, cracks in the foundation, and any other place of entry with insecticide spray to deter ants from coming in and making themselves at home.
Argentine Ant Green Pest Control
If you’re interested in an environmentally-friendly way to rid yourself of Argentine ants, consider the following green solutions.
- Hide your stash of food: Keep sugary foods in tight containers and store in the fridge. Check to make sure the gasket of the fridge completely seals. Clean off crumbs from all kitchen surfaces. Place pet food bowls in a tray of water.
- Build a moat: For food-associated objects such as trash cans and picnic tables, stand the object in water with several drops of bleach solution.
- Stop the leak: Cut down on areas of frequent moisture, such as leaks from the hose spigot.