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Pest of the Month: Argentine Ant

07/20/2010

 
Identifying characteristics
·         Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long
·         Uniformly dull brown
·         Petiole with 1 erect node
·         Thorax uneven in shape when viewed from side
·         Musty odor emitted when crushed
Behavior
·         Feed on sweets, fresh fruit, and buds of some plants
·         Tend honeydew-producing species
·         Forage for sweets and oils in homes
·         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; not antagonistic toward each other
Nest type and size
·         Outdoors in soil, under wood, slabs, debris, mulch, or in branches and cavities of trees and shrubs
·         Shallow, 1- to 2-inch deep mounds in open, often disturbed habitats, either moist or dry
·         Millions of ants per colony with multiple queens and many subcolonies
Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
The Argentine Ant is confirmed by to be established here in the New York City and Long Island area.  I have several specimens brought in by you the techs. If you crush one and it does not have a smell, then there is a strong case that you have this ant at the location.
Treatment
Begin by using only the baits and gels. Use a lot since the nests or colonies are very large at times. The use of Phantom, Transport GHP or other non-repellents may be used along the outside perimeter according to label instructions. Make sure that all entry points found get treated. A follow-up visit may be needed. These ants live in very large colonies. They may also bypass ground treatment and enter home near the roof line. A good inspection with a binocular is required.