Argentine ants are one of the many types of ants that can become a nuisance in your home. They have the typical ant body shape and can be a wide variety of colors. Even though they are not dangerous to humans, they can be a problem if they infest the home by contaminating food. There are several things you can do to help prevent an infestation. If you do find them in your home, it is best to call professionals like those at Nashville Pest Control. to take care of the problem for you.
Appearance and Lifecycle:
Adult Argentine ants grow to be 1/16th – 1/4th of an inch long. They have the basic ant body shape with 6 legs and 12 segmented antennae. They can be anywhere from a light brown to dark brown to black in color.
Argentine ant eggs are white. It takes about 28 days for the larvae to come out of the eggs. After about 74 days, the larvae reach the adult stage.
The queens are small, measuring 1/6th – 1/4th of an inch long. The winged queens only need to mate once with a winged male, then they can produce eggs for the rest of their lives. They can lay up to 60 eggs a day. One unique thing about the Argentine ant queen is that she will help the workers by feeding their young. Another unique characteristic is that the queens are mobile. They do not stay cooped up in the nest, which is helpful if they need to relocate their colony. The queens can live up to 10 years, but the workers will only live a few months. Male Argentine ants die soon after they mate.
Habitat and Behavior
Argentine ants are known for building enormous colonies. One colony can have hundreds of queens and hundreds of thousands of workers.
They will not establish new colonies through swarming. Instead, they mate inside the nest. Sometimes, a queen will leave the colony to establish a new one, but it is close to the original and is often times still connected. The colonies might even share workers.
They build their colonies in moist environments like the edges of sidewalks, under landscaping ties, stones, soil, or mulch. They also live in cavities at the base of shrubs and trees. Their nests are shallow, only 20 cm deep.
They will move inside of the home when they are searching for food. They can enter the home through cracks in the foundation or doors and windows. Tree branches, power and communication lines, and plumbing are also common ways for them to enter homes. They are omnivores. Although they prefer sweets, they will also eat meats, eggs, oils, and fats. So, if they do enter the home, they will contaminate your food.
Level of Danger:
Argentine ants are not dangerous to humans. They do not bite or sting and do not carry any diseases, but they are incredibly annoying when they infest your home. The large colonies they build can easily take over the infested areas of your home. The biggest threat they pose in the home is that they can contaminate your food.
They are several things that can be done to help prevent an infestation of Argentine ants. Make sure to seal any and all cracks in the foundation and near doors and windows. It is also important to keep trees and bushes trimmed away from the home. Keep the ground around the home free of clutter like boards, decaying plant material, rocks, and other things that can hold moisture. Make sure your trashcans are sealed as well. Removing honeydew producing bugs from the land around the home will help by eliminating another food source.
If you do find that your home is infested with Argentine ants call Nashville Pest Control to take care of the problem for you. If all the bugs are not completely eliminated, then they are likely to come back and infest the home again. The best and most effective way of getting rid of an infestation is to call the professionals at Nashville Pest Control.