The Ants of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) – nonnative
This species can be recognized by the following characteristics:
- Light to dark brown
- 2.2 to 2.6 mm long
- 1 petiolar node
- basal segment of antenna longer than head
The Argentine ant is now found on every continent except Antarctica, and has become a nuisance nearly everywhere.
The Argentine ants can be found in just about anywhere and in any habitat. They are known to nest under sidewalks, in homes, under rocks, in living tree trunks and in rotting wood. They tend tend to prefer cooler, moist environments, and have difficulty colonizing drier areas. The Argentine ant will behave aggressively towards any other ants that are in their nesting or foraging area, which makes a huge problem for the ants that are native to the area.
As its name implies, the Argentine ant is native to temperate and subtropical South America. They were introduced accidentally in shipping materials, first being noted in New Orleans around 1900.
Argentine ants prefer sweeter types of food rather than anything else, but also tolerate: cornmeal, fruit, plants, food, and various types of starches.
Above: an Argentine ant queen