One type of ant that is occasionally found in Florida is the Argentine ant.
Argentine ants are relatively small in size, growing between 2-3mm in length as adults. They are usually brown in coloration, but can vary in shade depending on the region. Argentine ants are famous for their massive subterranean colony sizes. A large Argentine ant colony can contain hundreds of egg laying queens and millions of workers. Some Argentine ant colonies grow so large they are considered to be “supercolonies.” One such colony, identified on the coast of California, stretches more than 500 miles in length. Interestingly, researchers have found a genetic link between the California supercolony and two other supercolonies found in Japans and Europe. It is believed that these colonies are linked due to ants from one of the original colonies traveling due to commerce.
Homeowners will often spot Argentine ants when they travel to and from their nests while scavenging. Like most ants, they are omnivorous, and have a very diverse diet with a preference for sweet, sugary foods. They will sometimes enter homes following trails of food scraps or stains left behind by people or pets. For this reason, it is important to keep food well sealed to avoid attracting ants.
Life Cycle of the Argentine ant
Like most types of ants, Argentine ants undergo complete metamorphosis. Their life cycle begins with a fertile queen mating with a male drone. Each queen will continuously lay eggs throughout their life cycles, and they can lay more than 50 eggs per day. These eggs will hatch in a little less than a month, and the emerging larvae will develop into adulthood over the next two and half months. Unlike most ant species, Argentine ants do not have a “swarming season” during which winged alates mate. Instead, the reproductive members of the colony will mate within the nest. If a nest grows too large, a queen will occasionally leave the main nest to establish a satellite colony nearby. These nests are often highly connected and in some cases they will share workers.
If you are seeing large numbers of ants in or around your home, it is possible that a colony is located somewhere nearby. Argentine ants tend to nests in areas with damp, malleable soil, and they are often found beneath or beside structures and sidewalks. In your yard, it is possible to find Argentine ants nesting beneath trees and shrubs, as these areas tend to have the ideal temperature and soil environment they prefer.
While Argentine ants are not known to be destructive, their massive colony sizes can make them a problematic infestation. Argentine ant nests tend to be wide and shallow, which can damage the soil and allow them to spread into your home. To make matters more complicated, it is also difficult to tell how extensive an infestation of these ants has become, since their colonies can spread incredibly far. Due to these difficulties, it is often best to call in a licensed pest control company if you are concerned about the risks of Argentine ants. While DIY pest products can be somewhat effective, they often do little to address the existing colony, and the ants will return once the treatment has expired.
If you are dealing with Argentine ants, or any other pest, you need Arrow Pest Service to resolve your pest problems QUICKLY and EFFECTIVELY! At Arrow Pest Service, we have decades of experience treating for pests of all kinds. Rather than applying the same generalized treatment processes for each job, our technicians begin each job with a thorough inspection of the property. We use the information gathered from this inspection to formulate a safe, targeted treatment plan to eliminate the infestation!
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