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Pest Spotlight: Argentine Ants

By July 8, 2023No Comments

Argentine ants are frustrating household pests, but apart from just causing aggravation, they can also cause devastating effects to the ecosystem. They do this by displacing native plant and animal species. In fact, Argentine ants spread so rapidly into new areas that they are listed among the 100 worst invasive species. Learning to identify and control these little pests can make a beneficial difference to your family and to the environment.

​What do Argentine ants look like?

Argentine ants are a small species of ant that typically grows from 2-3 mm long. They range in color from light to dark brown and may sometimes appear shiny due to their hairless bodies. Argentine ants have 6 legs, 12 segmented antennae, and a well-defined waist like other ant species.

Where do Argentine ants live?

As the name suggests, Argentine ants are native to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. They have now spread throughout the world, forming supercolonies in many areas. They have become very successful because the genetic make-up of Argentine ants across colonies has remained relatively similar, so they are not aggressive towards each other. They are, however, very aggressive toward other species of ants and will often displace native ant species in areas that they spread to.

Argentine ants are a major problem in Toronto and throughout the country. They live in shallow nests that may be under stones, wood, leaf litter, and other debris. When the weather is difficult (heat, drought, flooding), they will enter homes for food and shelter. Argentine ants are very well known for forming extensive ant trails from their nests to food sources in homes.

​How do Argentine ants spread?

​One of the main reasons that Argentine ants can be difficult to control is the fact that they spread so rapidly. Argentine ants have multiple queens within the colony, and if danger is detected or the colony gets too large, some of the worker ants and queens will simply “bud off” and form new satellite colonies. There can be many different nests within a short distance of each other, so just destroying one nest will usually not be enough to control the population around your home.

​What is the best way to control Argentine ants?

​Contact sprays and dumping boiling hot water on nests may work for some species of ants, but usually is not effective for Argentine ants because of their sub-colonies. Ant baits are typically much better options. Ant baits use the natural feeding habits of ants to destroy the colony from the inside out.

Ant baits should be placed in areas where you have seen ant trails. The worker ants will take the poisoned bait back to the nest and then share the food with the other colony members, including the queens, using the process of trophallaxis (regurgitating liquid food). By doing this, the poison will quickly be spread throughout the colony. If the queens die, the colony will not be able to survive. Baits take longer to kill than contact sprays, but will do a better job overall for Argentine ants.

Also helpful is having a professional pest control technician spray the exterior of your home with a residual insecticide that will keep ants and other pests away. These residuals can last months at a time.

​Where can I get the best ant control in Toronto?

At GTA Toronto Pest Control, we believe that we offer the best pest control that your money can buy. Our expert technicians, eco-friendly products, affordable prices, and 100% money back guarantee should convince you that no one will do a better job for you and your family. Contact us today for ant control in Toronto and surrounding areas. We proudly offer great pest control in Vaughan, pest control in Mississauga, pest control in Brampton, and throughout the surrounding areas.