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Meet the worst ants in the world

‘L. humile isn’t your stereotypical ant, with one queen and many workers laboring in a single nest. Argentine ants have multiple queens per colony, and there can be as many as 300 queens for every 1,000 workers. This makes them virtually impossible to kill with poison bait traps, which work on the principle that workers bring the tasty toxins back to the queen, whose death destroys the colony. When you have a lot of queens, that’s not an effective strategy.

Argentine ants are unusual in another way, too. They don’t build one large nest with lots of tunnels and rooms. Instead, they live in constantly shifting networks of temporary, shallow nests that change from day to day. .. Queens and workers are used to transiting from nest to nest, rarely staying put for long.

Despite their name, Argentine ants have now lived in the United States for more than 120 ant generations, which are roughly a year long due to their short lifespans. It’s been a struggle. The environment in North America is dramatically different from the tropical ecosystems where the ants originally evolved. These ants had to become an urban species to survive, living almost exclusively in cities and agricultural areas where plumbing and irrigation provide the water they desperately need. Entirely thanks to humans, Argentine ants have now become the dominant ant species in California cities, driving out dozens of native species. Today they’ve actually invaded most major landmasses in the world, including North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia, and quite a few islands…’

Source: Ars Technica