More than 10,000 species may exist worldwide. Approximately 570 species occur in the United States and of these, fewer than 30 species may regularly infest homes and other buildings with only ten species considered major pests. Ants have succeeded in replacing other types of structural pests as the number one pest in homes in many parts of the United States. In Texas, the imported fire ant has been deemed by pest control companies as the number one structural pest. In the Pacific Northwest, carpenter ants are responsible for most homeowner calls to pest control operators.
All ant species member live in colonies with one to many queens, immature, numerous sterile female workers and occasionally males. The workers are wingless and characterized by elbowed antennae and the constricted first one or two segments of the abdomen.
Ants can be detrimental to human health; their presence under certain situations can pose a serious human health risk. In hospitals, health care facilities, food processing plants, food packaging plants and food preparation areas of various structures, the presence of ants should not be tolerated because of potential for disease transmission.
Ants frequently are annoying and sometimes dangerous because of their bites and or stings. Not all ants sting. In many ants, the sting has practically disappeared, but venom may be injected into a wound made from a bite. Many ants produce a toxin secreted by glands in the head which is deposited in the bite. The substance is called formic acid and is the source of the scientific name of the ants, Formicidae.
Argentine Ants infestations in the urban environment varies regionally. In California it is typically a cool season pest and in the south it is typically a summer pests. Tend honeydew-producing species as mealy bugs and aphids.
Feed on sweets, fresh fruit, and buds of some plants. Argentine ants travel rapidly in distinctive trails along sidewalks, up sides of buildings, along branches of trees and shrubs,along baseboards, and under edges of carpets
Colonies may split in spring and summer when queen and workers move to new site. Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long , uniformly dull brown Musty odor emitted when crushed. Millions of ants per colony with multiple queens and subcolonies .
Good sanitation, remove potential food, wipe up spills, etc. Block up cracks and holes where you may have seen the ants trailing through and trim back vegetations and remove debris, stacks of fire wood, etc.
Chemical control should be applied early in the season when the ant colonies are undergoing rapid growth and trying to acquiring new food supplies. To be effective a good residual insecticide should be applied to the perimeter in a band application. Along sidewalks, and pathways and even stepping stones in your yard and garden.
By applying a good low rate Pyrethroid product you can provide up to 10 weeks of control for argentine ants. In addition baiting should commence in early spring for Argentine ant control. This will be when their egg production is at its peak and they are actively searching for high levels of protein based food. It can take about 5 days for the foragers to share the bait to the colony and nest.
Control Method for the Argentine Ant
Baiting is the preferred method for controlling an odorous house ant infestation.
An ant bait is a sugar or protein based food source ( Advance Dual choice ant Bait stations)
Place baits in forages trails this will insure that they ingest it and return it back to the colony.
Do not use a liquid insecticide when using a bait