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ARGENTINE ANT


Linepithema humile
  • Characteristics
  • Habitat
  • Tips for Control
  • Pest Impact
This species of ant is native to South America as its name suggests, however, it has been spread to many parts of the word including North America, Europe and Asia.

It is in the top 100 most destructive pests. It is highly invasive capable of displacing other ant species and also colonizing abandoned nests.

They invade human residences in search of food and water or when their colonies have reached full capacities.

They do not have a natural predator so their population expands very fast.


Size : 1/16 inches to 1/4 inches
Shape : Segmented, Oval
Color : Dark brown to black and shiny   
Legs : 6
Wings : Varies
Antenna : Yes
Common Name : Argentine Ant
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Arthropoda   
Class : Insecta
Order : Hymenoptera
Family : Formicidae
Species : Linepithema humile

DIET

Argentine ants forage for food both in the wild and in human residences. In the process they eat up anything including live insects and rodents, seeds and plant matter.  In the house they’ll consume high calorie foods like fat, sugary and starchy foods. Unlike other social insects both the workers and the queen all forage at the same time.
They prefer to live in wet environments somewhere close to a food source like sheltered and shaded places in the yard.
They are also able to form mega colonies because they don’t attack or directly compete with each other. They mingle and mix freely with insects of other colonies. This is the main reason for their ecological dominance.

They have complex nesting behaviors which make them difficult to eliminate. They have more than one queen in a given colony so killing one queen may not cause them a loss.
They are best targeted with poisoned baits which is consumed by members who go back to the colony and poison others when they lick each other. This takes four to five days for success to be noticed.
They are invasive insects which destroy plants and kill animals on their paths.
They displace other insect colonies which lead to ecosystem instability disrupting food chains.
Agriculturally, they cultivate aphids which they use for honeydew. These in turn lead to agricultural losses through aphid infestation.

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