Hello, Loyal “dog-blog” fans. Thank you for joining me again this week. It is time for another dose of “K-9 pest control” wisdom. Of course, this is Hunter, Loyal Termite and Pest Control’s Certified Termite Detective. Thank goodness; in addition to my termite detection credentials, I minored in general Pest Control. I don’t mean to brag, well yes I do; I finished at the top of my class in Pest Control, as well as, Termite Detection. Graduating “Magna Bark Loudly” is an honor I’ll always cherish. The gold highlights on my graduation detective shield indicate this special designation. Well, that’s enough about me; for now.

I don’t know why, but I am extremely interested in all household pests. I guess being the dog of both the President and Vice-President of Loyal Company has given me the desire to be well versed in all areas of pest control. In time, I have acquired the knowledge to be able to understand a great deal about our region’s current pest population. The content of this blog series, however; concentrates on pests that are recent arrivals to our region, or are very close and lingering at Virginia’s southern borders, soon to make their presence known to all of us. This blog concentrates on a pest that has been in our country since the 1800’s but is now starting to show itself to Virginians living near the North Carolina border. Our topic today is The Argentine Ant.

The Argentine Ant was first identified in 1866 near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since their discovery, they have been widely distributed and currently found in 15 countries, as well as, some islands and on six continents. In the United States, they are primarily found in Southern California but have also been found in the following states: Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Oregon, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, and recently in the southernmost part of Virginia.

While Argentine Ants are tolerant of each other, they are very aggressive towards other ants and insects. When colonies of Argentine Ants move into an area, they will kill and run off other ant species and claim the area for themselves. In Southern California, they have caused a major problem for horned lizards. Horned lizards depend on harvester ants for food. However, when the Argentine Ants moved into the area, they began to eliminate the harvester ants. This has contributed to the decrease of horned lizards in the area. These ants are very aggressive and have been known to successfully attack killer bees and wasp nests.

Why should we be concerned about the arrival of Argentina Ants? One, their aggressive behavior affects the natural balance of sensitive insect populations. Also, because of their instinctive tolerance for each other, large “Super Colony’s” are formed when a single colony gets too large. The Queen ants will mate inside the nest and then leave the nest with a group of worker ants and start a new colony. These colonies have been known to be very close to others, they will even share workers at times. And, if needed, the individual colonies will team up with another to attack enemies.

A single colony of Argentine Ants can contain thousands of workers and many queens.

Argentine Ants have to have a damp environment for survival. They must also be close to a reliable food source. It would be wise to eliminate any temptation to draw Argentine Ants into your household. Should they make a stronghold; the infestation will number in the thousands. They will bite and they emit a musty smell when crushed. When threatened, the Queen will lay eggs in very large numbers to assure colony size.

We may soon have to be very conscious about the arrival of the Argentine Ant.

If not now, but in the future, you discover you are harboring Argentine Ants you will want to call a professional to eliminate the problem. This brings me back to my favorite little company jingle that sounds similar to the “Ghostbusters” theme song; Who ya’ gonna’ call? Call Loyal!! That’s it; how about one more time? Who ya’ gonna’ call? Call Loyal!!

Thank you for joining me for this week’s edition of What’s Buggin’ You? If you have any termite or pest control questions or problems; please contact us here at Loyal Termite and Pest Control, go to our website, or contact us on social media. I’ll bark at you again next week! Ruff! Ruff!

Foreign Invaders: Recent Insect Arrivals that will define the Word “Pest” (Part 2 – The Argentine Ant) in Virginia

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