Argentine Ants are one of the most aggressive invasive ants in the world. Discovered in the 1800's, they can currently be found in approximately 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 Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Oregon and Mississippi. Learn how to kill Argentine ants like a pro!

Get Rid of Argentine Ants

Argentine Ant Identification

The Argentine ant is a small, light to dark brown ant about 1/8 inch (2.6mm) in length. They have been reported to crawl onto people and bite them while they are asleep. Reports from the early 1800's describe babies being attacked in their cribs. Argentine Ants or Linepithema humile were first identified in 1866 near Buenos Aires, Argentina. All Argentine Ants are a dullish brown color in appearance. They feature an uneven thorax with an erect petiole node directly behind the thorax. These two features are the main identifiers of the Argentine Ant. They also feature segmented antennae which have 12 elbowed segments. The worker argentine ants do not have wings and are generally lightly spotted. They can be anywhere from 1/12 of an inch to 1/8 of an inch in length. The queen Argentine Ants can be two to four times the length of the workers. Queens may also possess wings too, but won t swarm when mating like most other species of ants.

Musty Smell When Crushed

In addition to their appearance, Argentine Ants can be identified by the smell they produce when they are crushed. When crushed in large numbers, they will give off a musty smell. Because of this smell, the Argentine ant is most often confused with the odorous house ant. The node on the abdomen of the Argentine ant has a sharp pointed peak, while the odorous house ant is flat and is hidden. This makes them resemble and can often be confused with Crazy ants and Small Honey ants. The Argentine ant does not have a small circle of hairs on the tip of its abdomen.

Argentine Ant Size: 1/8 inch (2.6mm) Color: light to dark brown

Argentine Ant Workers Size: 1/8 inch (2.6mm) Color: light to dark brown

Argentine Ants Feeding On Air Freshener

Horned Lizard Decline

While Argentine Ants are tolerant of each other, they are still very aggressive in nature towards other species of ants and insects. When colonies of these ants move in to an area, they will kill and run off the other ant species and claim the area for themselves. This tendency has caused a major problem for the horned lizards in Southern California. Horned lizards depend on harvester ants for food. However, when Argentine Ants move into the area, they begin to eliminate harvester ants by taking away their food source and fighting them off. The elimination of these food sources is detrimental not only for harvester ants, but also for horned lizards and contributes to the horned lizards decrease in population in some areas of the United States. The other contributing factor is that Argentine Ants have been known to attack horned lizards if they living in the same area. These ants have also been known to successfully attack killer bees and wasp nests.