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Argentine ants, Linepithema humile, are brown,slender, and about one-eighth inch long. They usually nest under boards, stones, tree stumps,and potted plants.
Argentine ants are small ants. They are often present in great numbers and may form long lines. They forage 24 hours a day. Workers are all one size although a larger queen may occasionally be seen foraging in the open. Queens are 2 to 4 times as large as workers and are grayish brown in color.
Argentine ants obtain protein from eating insects,including many pests, but they prefer honeydew,which is a sweet excretion produced by aphids,scales, mealybugs and whiteflies. Youâ€™ll often find these ants in trees and shrubs infested with honeydew- producing insects.Ants often come indoors to find food during summer and fall when honeydew production declines. Ants feed each other by transferring food mouth to mouth, so slow-acting baits are more effective than sprays because foraging ants survive long enough to transfer the poison to other workers and the queens.Colonies begin to shrink soon after the bait kills the queens.Both sugary and protein-containing baits may be necessary to manage Argentine ants.
Life cycle: The eggs of Argentine ants are elliptical in outline, pearly-white in colour, and take from 12 days to nearly 2 months to hatch. The larval stage may be completed in from 11 to 60 days. The pupal period may extend over 10 to 25 days. The minimum period from egg to adult is about 1 month but it may be 4 to 5 months and averages 2-3 months.
The population of a colony may vary from a dozen to many thousands and the number of queens from one to hundreds. During the warmer months, satellite nests are usually established close to food sources and these satellite nests are highly mobile, with the workers moving in with eggs and larvae over a short period and abandoning the nest if it is disturbed or the food used up. The adult winged males, which are larger than the workers but much smaller than the winged queens, usually fertilise the queens in the nest and the new queens establish nests nearby after losing their wings. In midsummer and early autumn there is a very large increase in numbers.
Argentine worker Ants
Damage: Because it does not sting or bite humans. The Argentine ant is most notable as a nuisance pest in urban areas, especially because of the availability of water. This ant exists in back yards at high densities associated with landscape features that provide favorable microclimates, such as potted plants and walkway bricks or stones. They enter homes through cracks and other spaces, in search of food or water.
Argentine ants are also an economic threat because of their potential to tend plant pest insects, such as mealybugs, scales, and aphids. In return for sweet honeydew secretions from these plant feeding insects, ants provide protection from natural enemies. Argentine ants may even move pests to better food sources or more favorable microclimates to maximize honeydew production.
Argentine Ants Damage
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