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Argentine Ants: Control, Facts, Life Cycle

Argentine Ant

Where Found

This should come as no surprise. Argentine Ants are native to Argentina. Brazil, as well. They probably came to the U.S. on coffee ships before 1891. Now found in the southern U.S. and common in California, with isolated infestations in IL, MD, MO, OR and WA.

Where Can You Find Argentine Ants?

Shallow nests in the soil near a source of moisture, such as along sidewalks, under rocks, between plants, near water pipes, in potted plants and wall voids.

What Do Argentine Ants Eat?

An ant with a sweet tooth. Yes, Argentine ants do have teeth. Often found outside near insects, such as aphids, which produce a honey-like secretion called honeydew. They prefer sweets, but also feed on oil, protein foods, fat, and meat.

Argentine Ant Risks

Mainly a nuisance pest, but since they crawl over garbage, sewage and carrion, they can transport disease organisms.

Argentine Ant Infestations

Argentine ants come inside when the weather is very wet or very dry, and when they are short on honeydew.

Argentine Ant Queens, Life Cycle, Biology

Long live the queen. All 20 of them. Argentine ant colonies have many queens, and hundreds to several thousand workers. Numbers change depending on time of year. To survive the winter, nests are formed by colonies joining together. Different colonies get along, but Argentine ants are very territorial and aggressive towards other ant species. Mating takes place in the nest, so winged reproductive females are not often seen. Development from egg to adult takes an average of 74 days.

How To Get Rid of Argentine Ants

Hiring pest control professionals to apply an exterior treatment is important for long-term Argentine ant control. When you partner with Western Exterminator, your dedicated technician will locate nests by following ant trails from food sources. Successful control involves treating nests whenever possible. Your technician will look for objects in the yard under which ants might try to colonize or hide. 

Argentine ants commonly run along the foundations of a structure or along the edges of concrete walks below the height of grass or groundcover. If the ants have invaded interior areas, preparation of lower cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms may be necessary. A treatment of wall voids near plumbing may also be recommended.  

Multiple argentine ant treatments may be necessary throughout the year to maintain control.