As the weather consistently warms, pests emerge from their winter accommodations and become a nuisance across California. One of the most commonly encountered – and annoying – pests that homeowners must deal with is the Argentine ant.
Spring is an active time of year for Argentine ant colonies, as they often split up in search of new nesting locations. You may notice them traveling rapidly outside along sidewalks, up the sides of buildings, and along the branches of trees and shrubs, and indoors along baseboards and under the edges of carpets.
Argentine ants establish shallow nests (one- to two-inch mounds) in soil near a source of moisture – along sidewalks, under rocks, between plants, near water pipes, and in potted plants.
Argentine ant colonies can number from several hundred to several thousand, and the ants will travel up to 200 feet from the nest to feed. And this is where Argentine ants become a problem.
Even though Argentine ants typically live in nests outdoors near a food source, they will forage aggressively for food and come indoors to seek it. They also have a sweet tooth, and often are found outside near other insects, such as aphids, which produce a honey-like secretion called honeydew. They prefer sweets, but also will feed on oil, protein foods, fat, and meat.
A story in the San Jose Mercury News earlier this year shared the tale of a woman who encountered thousands of Argentine ants that established a colony inside the insulation of a refrigerator/freezer, and would unleash a foraging frenzy in her kitchen every day, much to her dismay.
What can you do to prevent Argentine ants from doing the tango in your kitchen or pantry? The Clark Man recommends the following steps to keep ants and other pests away:
- Keep food in sealed plastic bags or containers; food, including pet food, with high doses of sugar are prime targets for Argentine ants
- Make sure to thoroughly rinse your recycled cans, bottles, and plastic containers, as sugar residue from a soda can or syrup bottle will attract Argentine ants
- Don’t allow excessive moisture or standing water to gather in or around your house, because Argentine ants like moisture – so don’t let them have it
- Clean up food and liquid spills in the kitchen and in indoor and outdoor dining areas – ants love leftovers
Remember, if you have question on keeping ants out of your living space, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.