Dancing the tango with Argentine ants

May 14, 2021, 12:30 PM by Clark Pest Control in Anaheim

Spring is prime time for pests to emerge from their winter slumber and become a nuisance across California. One of the more prolific nuisance pests that Californians deal with is the Argentine ant.

This pesky invasive ant species most likely arrived in the United States on coffee ships in the late 1890s. Today, it’s a commonly found pest across the western United States.

Where do Argentine ants live?

Argentine ants establish shallow nests – usually 1- to 2-inch mounds – in the soil near a moisture source. But those nests aren’t as shallow as they appear, and these ants can nest as deeply as 24 feet.

Areas along sidewalks, under rocks, between plants, and near sprinkler systems are common outdoor hiding spots for Argentine ants. Indoors, they are often found near household plumbing, sinks, and potted plants.

Argentine ant colonies often split during springtime in search of new nesting locations, and you will notice these ants traveling rapidly along sidewalks, up the sides of buildings, along the branches of trees and shrubs, along baseboards, and under the edges of carpets. They will travel up to 200 feet from their nest to feed, and will make use of tree branches and even utility lines to travel.

One difference between Argentine ants and other ant species is that Argentine ants will combine into massive supercolonies, sometimes hundreds of miles long, which can number from several thousand up to a million members. One Argentine ant supercolony stretches from San Francisco to San Diego.

What do Argentine ants eat?

Even though Argentine ants typically live outdoors near a food source, they will aggressively forage indoors for food. They have a sweet tooth, and are often found near insects such as aphids, which produce a sugary secretion called honeydew. Argentine ants prefer sweets, but will also feed on oil, protein foods, fat, and meat.

How to prevent Argentine ants

What can you do to prevent Argentine ants from doing the tango in your home? Clark, your friendly termite, grounds care, and pest management expert, recommends that you follow these steps to keep these ants and other pests away:

  • Keep food in sealed plastic bags or containers. Food, including pet food, with high amounts of sugar are prime targets for Argentine ants.

  • Make sure to thoroughly rinse your recycled cans, bottles, and plastic containers. The sugary residue from a soda can or syrup bottle is like a written invitation for Argentine ants.

  • Don’t allow excessive moisture or standing water to gather in or around your house. Argentine ants like moisture. Don’t let them have it.

  • Clean up food and liquid spills in the kitchen and indoor and outdoor dining areas. Ants love leftovers.

Read eight great ant prevention tips here

Clark Pest Control is committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify you before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.

If you have questions about Argentine or other ants, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at clarkcares@clarkpest.com.

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home.