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Asian Needle Ant vs. Argentinian Ant: Face-off On US Soil

Ants are one of the most common complaints of homeowners facing an infestation, but in recent years more and more species have turned up around the US. Pest control professionals generally don’t have a difficult time eradicating ant colonies in and around homes but some of the newer species are proving to be heartier than their peers.

The southern US, in particular, is a very hospitable climate for aggressive ant species. In the past decade, an explosion of Argentinian ants, one of the world’s “100 Worst Invaders” has been detected in the south and all across the US and many are scrambling to eradicate them.

 

What’s the big deal?

Argentine ant colonies are massive and unlike other species, they mix well together. Technically, there is one large Argentinian ant colony that stretches from coast to coast here in the US due in large part to the fact that colonies intermix with abandon unlike typical ants. This species is highly invasive and causes great and lasting damage to the flora and fauna of the region it invades.

What can be done?

While researchers have been working tirelessly to come up with a solution to the Argentinian ant problem it seems nature may have taken care of it for them. The Asian Needle Ant, a relatively new species to America, has been detected as far north as North Carolina and as far south as Florida.

The Asian Needle Ant is a devastatingly aggressive species, fighting anything that gets in its way, including termites. When facing off with an Argentinian ant colony the Asian ant usually dominates due to larger numbers and body size. The Asian Needle ant has a few other legs up (pun intended), too, like the fact that their colonies become active over two months earlier each year than their South American counterparts.

Is the Asian Needle Ant dangerous?

Kind of. Asian Needle Ants are great at getting rid of Argentinian ants but they’re also really good at killing other insect species, some of which are helpful. Ladybugs, caterpillars, and even bees have been known to be taken down by large colonies of Asian Needles, and homeowners need these bugs to grow thriving gardens and encourage pollination.

Pest control professionals all over the south are in the process of figuring out the best way to eradicate ant infestations in populated areas. Like standard house ants, Asian Needle Ants are easily killed by chemical pesticide applications, though they usually require more to do the job due to their large colonies.

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