The Argentine ant is the biggest problem in the Bay Area out of the four, you can find them almost everywhere in and around your home. They will enter when the weather becomes too hot, too cold or too wet. They will also enter when their food supplies outside dwindle. This means they can enter at anytime.
Argentine workers are about 1/8 inch long and are light to dark brown. Queens can reach up to 1/4 inch.
Unlike other species, these ants have multiple queens; as many as eight queens for every 1,000 workers and only the queens can lay eggs. Ants go through a complete metamorphosis, from egg, to larva, to pupa, to adult. More queens means more ants can be raised faster. Most ants of the same species will have their own territory and will fight another colony should they cross paths, but Argentine ants do not. They allow other workers and even queens to pass through freely, therefore making them polydomous. These ants have what is called a swarmer cast. New queens and males. However, mating takes place inside the nest. You may see them in the evenings during the summer months. Instead of swarming like most other ants, new colonies are started by budding (one or more queens take some of the workers and walk away to make a sub-colony.)
Argentine ants prefer to live in moist soils near their food supplies. They will travel along trails and eat whatever they can. Like insects, as well as grains, their primary food is honeydew which can make up as much as 70% of their diet. A sweet sugar stool of aphids and other sap-sucking insects. The argentine ant will protect these bugs from other predators as payment for the honeydew. This ant will also carry aphids to other plants to increase the honeydew supplies.
There is a misconception that if you have ants around your home, then you can't have termites. This is not true. If you open a wall to expose termites or if termites are swarming, the ants will prey on them. However, this does not mean you should rely on ants to keep termites away from your home.
If or when food supplies drop or sudden weather changes occur, Argentine ants will enter your home in large numbers with multiple queens. Once inside the queens may fracture into several sub-colonies making it much harder to control them. You can find them in your kitchen, bathrooms, closets, laundry baskets, potted plants, dishwasher, cabinets, in other words, anywhere.
To control Argentine ants an exterior treatment is required. We treat the exterior with Termidor. We spray two feet up and out from your home, along with any trails that may extend into the yard. The ants can’t detect this chemical which means they will continue to cross through it. The chemical is spread via ant-to-ant contact. It will not kill them for several hours, which allows them to spread it exponentially outside the treated zone. Since the ants inside your home are part of the colony outside, the ants that pass through the Termidor treatment subsequently kill the ones inside. If you see large trails of ants inside, it may be necessary to also treat the interior to control the infestation. We treat a minimum of the kitchen and all bathrooms. However, we can do spot treatments almost anywhere in your home. For long term control we suggest treatments either every two months or quarterly.