What are Argentinian Ants?
The World Conservation Union lists the Argentine ant as one of the world’s worst invasive species. Originally established in Auckland in 1990, and is now a problem in Canterbury.
Argentine ants hitch rides in freight, potted plants, rubbish, vehicles and other such goods and tavel from one urban area to another.
They are very aggressive and are one of our major household and garden pests.
They reach huge numbers, which means they have a large appetite and the potential to have a massive impact on the natural environment.
Therefore they pose a serious threat to the conservation values of areas such as Urupukapuka Island, Motukawanui Island, Moturua, and many mainland sites.
These threats include:
- Eliminating other species of ants
- Competing with Kiwi for food such as insects and worms
- Competing with native birds and lizards for nectar
- Displacing and killing native invertebrates
What do Argentinian Ants look like?
The wingless worker Argentine ant is small (2-3 mm long) and is light to dark honey brown in colour.
Unlike most other ants they are often seen moving in thick trails of up to five ants wide.
Argentine ants look very similar to another pest species called Darwin Ant. However, if you squash an Argentine ant there is no strong formic acid smell as there is with some other ants including Darwin Ants.
Where have they been found?
Argentine ants are now known for many parts of Auckland and Northland, as well as Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.
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