- Common Name(s): Argentine Ant
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Family: Formicidae
- Common Species: Linepithema humile
- Commonly Confused With: Other Ant Species
How to Identify?
Argentine ants are uniformly (solidly) dark brown to light brown in color. They will often times appear shiny and can look black if not viewed up close. They range from 0.2 to 0.25 centimeters in size. When you look at the abdomen (back section of an insect) you will see one node (bump) connecting it to the thorax (middle section of an insect). You can differentiate termites and ants by looking at the antenna. Ants have an antenna that looks bent or elbowed while termites have a straight, beaded looking antenna.
Where do they live?
These ants usually live outdoors in soil, leaf piles, garbage piles, under stones/rocks, in mulch, and other such locations. During the winter these ants tend to move indoors to escape the cold.
What do they eat?
Argentine ants usually feed on honeydew produced by sap-feeding insects while outdoors. They protect the sap feeders and in return, the sap-feeders allow them to feed on their honeydew (sweet secretions from the backside of the insect). This process is referred to as trophobiosis. Inside, these ants search for protein or sugar sources to eat, preferring sugars or oils.
What do they do?
These ants do not have a stinger and, as such, are incapable of inflicting a sting. They are more of a nuisance than anything else. When they come indoors they get everywhere in their search for food.
These ants are unique because they can have colonies that have multiple queens. Colonies of this caliber normally consist of millions of ants.
- Trophobiosis. (n.d.). Retrieved November 6, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trophobiosis;
- Argentine Ant. (2007). [PDF] (pp. 1, 2). Retrieved from https://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/media/flrecifasufledu/pdfs/pestants/ArgentineAnt.pdf
Author: G. Wyatt West– B.S.E.S University of Georgia 2017; Board Certified Entomologist
Photo Credit: Eli Sarnat, Antkey, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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