Argentine ants scientifically as Linepithema humile, are invasive small ants. They can move in large numbers especially in your kitchen during winter. Their presence can be annoying and you might be tempted to try some DIY and natural ways to get rid of these ants. Learn how to get rid of argentine fast and naturally.
Argentine ants are prolific breeders. They are invasive owing to their large colonies. They are known to be aggressive and often attack other ant species in large numbers. They tent to combine forces to wipe out other ant colonies.
Originally, their roots trace back to South America, primarily in Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil. Their network has spread and now can be found in many places throughout the world including the United States, Japan, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
How to identify argentine ants
How do you identify argentine ants? First look at their color. Argentine ants range from light to dark brown to black. In terms of size, they are about 1/8” to 3/8” in length. Their body is segmented and assume an oval shape. Surprisingly, the ants do not have wings and their antennae have 12 segments.
When crushed, argentine ants produces a musty odor unlike most other ants that produce an acidic smell. You can distinguish them by their mandibles that has 5 – 8 large teeth and their smooth and hairless bodies. The queen argentine ants are usually a bit larger than the worker ants, they have ¼” body in length. The queen and reproductive males may have wings.
Like most ant species, these ants go through a complete metamorphosis; egg, larva, pupa and adult. Temperature normally affect their development. A completer metamorphosis can take up to 105 days.
Their colonies have the ability to house hundreds of queens, millions of ants can cove an entire city blocks.
Do argentine bite or sting?
A bite or sting from any ant or insect can be painful. Do argentine bite? Argentine ants do not have stingers and can only bite or sting when you provoke them or they feel threatened. You should not therefore disturb their peace. Although their bites are harmless and not pose any health risk to humans.
Are argentine ants harmful or dangerous to humans?
Do argentine ants cause any significant risk to humans? Are they dangerous? When dealing with argentine ants, you should not be worried since they do not pose any health risk or threat to humans. But they can be a nuisance since they crawl all over everything including human bodies, trash, animal carcasses, etc.., this means they can easily transmit bacteria wherever they go especially on food, if they get into your kitchen.
Argentine ants are known to attack beehives and poultry chicks. This is a reason enough to get rid of them fast before they cause a significant damage in your home.
Where to locate argentine ants
Argentine ants can be mostly found living several states (southern) in U. S as well as Hawaii and California. Only fewer of them can be found in Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Pacific Northwest as well as Arizona.
You’re likely to find argentine ant colonies in damp environment and slightly close to a source of food. Outside homes, they tend to build shallow nest in damp or wet location like in plants, along sidewalks and underneath boards. They can survive in lower temperature and less moist areas.
Whenever the conditions appear to be less favorable, they will head indoors and in large numbers. Once inside the house, they will gather near source of moisture such as kitchen sinks, pipes, water and potted plants. They use tree branches to make entry into your homes.
How do argentine ants get into homes?
Before knowing how to get rid of argentine ants, first let us know how they get into home. These ants as mentioned earlier, they are invasive and come in large numbers which can be difficult to control. First, they will readily attack the colonies of other ant species in an attempt to displace them.
This can be destructive to the local ecosystem since ants generally important role to the health of some plants and other creatures. They can be a nuisance and hard to get rid of.
Look out for moist areas such mulch, underneath yard debris, piles of lawn litter and home foundations. As soon as summer ends and winter begins, these ants naturally move out of the outdoor spaces and try to get entry into homes through gaps, cracks. Once they are inside they nest in wall and floor voids.
Signs of infestation of argentine ants
Do I have an infestation of argentine ants? The most common sign of argentine ant infestation is seeing trails of them usually climbing up buildings and trees trying to gain entry into your homes. It is easy to tell an infestation of argentine ants, since their trails are often wide and clearly visible.
How to get rid of argentine ants?
Now you know the signs of infestation of argentine ants? So the next step is how to get rid of them fast and naturally. Here are some of the recommended ways to get rid of argentine ants:
This is the best and long term reliable way to get rid of argentine ants. Ant bait kill the ants faster and if well placed it can wipe the entire colony of the ant. While using an ant bait, make sure you use the best ant bait. They are found in stores allover in the U.S.
When ant baits are used to get rid of argentine ants, make sure you use the residual sprays or dust stress. It helps to split the colonies into sub colonies and scatter them. This scattering or budding multiplies the split ant colonies.
When choosing the ant baits, you must understand the nutritional needs of the colony. Here’s how to use an ant bait:
- Mix sugar or carbohydrate with poison
- Place the bait where ants’ trails are seen
The ants will come for the food and take it back to the colony where the queen is. When they consume the food mixed with poison, they will soon die slowly including the queen ant. This method requires patience and time. You can place several baits in place where the ants are seen moving.
2. Diatomaceous Earth
Another effective natural remedy to get rid of argentine ants is D.E. it kills the ants by absorbing oil from the ants bodies. You can purchase D.E online but take precaution when using it as it can get into your skin. Avoid breathing in the D.E
3. Use Insecticide
Baiting has proven to be the most efficient and reliable way to get rid of ants fast. But if you have to use insecticides, use non –repellent sprays usually labelled to spray in the yard and perimeter. If you use a typical residual insecticide, it will make the ants to split and scatter into small or sub colonies which can increase the ants.
4. Boiling Water
It is simple but requires precaution otherwise you might end up with scars and burns from the hot water. Boiling enough water or the much you can depending on your situation. Identify the location where the ants are and pour the hot water. Holes, cracks, crevices, etc.., are the prime nests for the ants’ colonies.
5. Dish Soap and Water
Another naturally remedy to get rid of argentine ants is using dish soap and water. Here’s how to use this remedy:
- Mix dish soap and water in a ratio of 1:3
- Put the mixture in a spray bottle
- Spray the solution directly on the argentine ants
This mixture will dry on the argentine ants’ skeleton causing them to suffocate and die within a couple of hours
Chalk can make the ants to move out of your house. The ants tend to avoid the chalk. Sprinkle the chalk on the trail of the ants. Alternatively draw the lines on hard surfaces where you don’t want the ants to cross.
Spices too can help get rid of argentine ants fast and naturally at home. For instance, use cinnamon or mint in your home. This is a natural ant repellent. Sprinkle cinnamon around the areas where you’ve found the trails of argentine ant. Or alternatively, put mint leaves together and place them in areas where you’ve seen ants entering your home.
How to prevent argentine ants from invading your home – Tips
There are various ways to and tips to help you prevent argentine ants from invading your home. As mentioned earlier in the post, they are very invasive just like any all ants in general. They get attracted to food and moisture.
Argentine ants are stubborn and resilient owing to their large population which can multiply if not controlled fast.
To prevent argentine ants from invading your home, here are some of the tips:
- Get rid of stagnant water around your home
- Clean up food and drinks debris or spills immediately. Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers.
- Trash bins containers should be sealed too and trash removed daily
- Branches and other shrubbery around your home that towers over your house should be trimmed or cut off completely
- Cracks, holes, crevices and utility lines that act as entry point should be sealed to minimize entry of these ants into your homes
- Firewood and building materials should be kept far away from the house -20 feet. They can be a perfect nesting areas for argentine ants.
There’s so much one can do at home to help manage the infestation of argentine ants. Whatever works for you, go for it. If an argentine invasion becomes too difficult for you to handle, you can call a professional/ pest control expert to help you get rid of them. Remember, a large and lasting ant infestation of argentine ants can result to a significant damage to your home.
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