When it comes to insect pests, ants are generally recognized as being one of the most difficult insect groups to eradicate from infested houses. This is largely due to their highly evolved social behaviors, as well as their relatively small body sizes, which allows them to exploit numerous entry points that lead into homes. Invasive ant species are even more difficult to eradicate from infested homes, as any insect species that can thrive in a non-native habitat must be well adapted to survive environmental threats, including pest control professionals.
For those who do not already know, “invasive species,” are organisms that establish ecologically damaging habitats in regions where they are not native. The most well known invasive ant species in the United States is the red-imported fire ant, which can be found in most areas of Texas, including Waco. However, more than 75 invasive ant species have become established in the southern half of the US, and most of these exotic species have become particularly problematic within Texas.
One of the most recent non-native ant species to establish an invasive habitat in the US is the Argentine ant. These ants are largely a nuisance within homes in southeastern and Central Texas, but their large indoor congregations make these pests overwhelming to residents and extremely difficult to eradicate for pest control professionals. Argentine ants are difficult to control due to their habit of establishing multiple nesting sites within hard-to-access enclosed areas within homes. These areas include wall voids, under baseboards and storage areas. Argentine ants often establish nests near pipes and within bathroom wall voids in order to retain needed moisture.
Ant infestations can only be eradicated provided that the reproductive queen of a colony is killed or removed from a home, but this is hard to do when it comes to Argentine ants since they dwell within colonies that contain multiple queens. Argentine ants are also able to establish new satellite nests rapidly, and it only takes 10 workers and one queen to establish an entirely new parent colony, so removing one or several nests from a home hardly means that an infestation has been eliminated. Luckily, pest control professionals can effectively eliminate Argentine ant infestations by injecting aerosol dusts into wall voids where nests are usually located, and outdoor nests can be treated with a number of insecticide solutions.
Have you, or one of your neighbors ever fallen victim to an Argentine ant infestation?