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Getting Rid of Argentine Ants

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Getting Rid of Argentine Ants

Argentine Ant Standing Upright on a Flower Bud

Zen Shui/Odlon Dimier, PhotoAlto Agency, Courtesy of Getty Images

How to Physically Identify an Argentine Ant:

They are light to dark brown, 1/10" or 2.5mm long. Honeydew collecting ants, like the Argentine, have a swollen, almost translucent abdomen.

Argentine Ants March with Military Precision:

When nests are flooded by rain, lines of workers will carry the white pupae to higher ground.

Multiple Queens and Budding - Argentine Ants :

Every Argentine Ant queen, of which there may be hundreds in each colony, lays hundreds of eggs which hatch in 30 days. The larvae are cared for by female workers for about 60 days before they become Pupae. About 2 weeks later, adults emerge to renew the life cycle. New Argentine Ant colonies are formed in a process called budding, in which a Queen will walk, rather than fly to a new (sunny) location, accompanied by some workers.

Argentine Ant Habitat:

Argentine ants live underground, beneath boards, flowerpots, sidewalks, stones and houses.

Favorite Foods of the Argentine Ants:

Argentine Ants have a "sweet tooth" although as the photo shows they will prey on other insects in the garden as well as indoors, where they will dine on flea larvae as well as human and pet food.

Argentine Ants and Human Contact:

Argentine Ants do not sting and very seldom will bite.

Distribution of the Argentine Ant is Worldwide:

Although native to South America, Argentine Ants can be found in Australia, Europe, the western half of the U.S., South Africa, Hawaii and Mexico.

Damage Caused by Argentine Ants:

Mostly, Argentine Ants are a pesky pest for getting into human and pet foods, so uncovered food, both human and pet, attracts them as do unrinsed food or soda containers left in garbage cans.

Controlling Argentine Ants - Remove Food and Water Sources and Bar Their Entry :

Leave Argentine Ants hungry by storing human and pet foods in containers with snap-on lids or glass jars with sealing gaskets. Do not leave opened food on countertops and dust/vacuum/sweep food crumbs from floors daily. Clean meat or food wrapping in soapy water before tossing it into a rubbish container. Empty indoor organic waste/compost pails daily, rinsing them before returning them to duty.

Physically bar Argentine Ants from the home by applying silicone caulk to foundation cracks and behind cupboards, combining this with a dust of boric acid or diatomaceous earth. OBSERVE ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS!

More Ways to Keep Argentine Ants Out of Your Home:

Exclusion:
Caulk cracks and crevices around foundations that provide entry from outside using silica aerogel for long-term control combined with pyrethrins for more immediate effects. Ants may be using wires and pipes to enter and travel to their destination so check utility service entrances for cracks and repair as needed. Also, eliminate indoor cracks and crevices in kitchens and other food preparation and storage areas.

Cleanup Indoors:
Rinse out empty soft drink containers or remove them from the building. Thoroughly clean up grease and spills immediately. Remove garbage from buildings daily and change liners frequently. Look for indoor nesting sites, such as in potted plants. If ants are found in potted plants, remove the containers from the building, then place the pots for 20 minutes in a solution of insecticidal soap and water. Ants-be-Gone Recipe: two tablespoons of insecticidal soap per quart of water. Submerge the potted plant so the surface of the soil is just covered by the water-soap solution.

Cleanup Outdoors
Outdoor ant nests may be associated with ornamental trees and shrubs that support large populations of honeydew-producing insects such as aphids, soft scales, mealybugs or whiteflies. So, avoid planting such trees and shrubs next to buildings and keep plants, grass, and mulch several inches away from the foundation of buildings because ants will use these materials for nests.

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