The Argentine Ant Spread from South America to the United States about 100 years ago. The ant is known for its rapid breeding, which is the result of multi queen colonies that can survive even after the death of one queen, its friendliness towards its own species, and ability to subdue other ant species. The ant is also omnivorous, and can thrive in human habitations.
The ant mostly spread artificially along lines of transportation. Originally entering through the Port of New Orleans, it was subsequently found in locations along every major rail line going out of New Orleans. From focal cities such as New Orleans, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Atlanta, the ant spread to local towns.
The ant can survive in all types of soil and adapt to all types of vegetation, although it shows a preference for habitats where honeydew producing aphids are prevalent.
The ant has invaded over a third of the states, infesting an area greater than 4,000 miles. One notable location is a huge super colony which stretches along much of the California coast line.
The Argentine ant is, for the most part, warm weather restricted, although it can survive in states such as Missouri, Illinois and Maryland. However, during the winter, it is not able to live outdoors, in these areas, and migrates into homes to survive. In urban areas the ant can spread from house to house, and thus enlarge its distribution rapidly despite its inability to survive outdoors.
Because the colonies have so many queens, merely spraying the area with poison will not eradicate it. On the contrary, it stimulates surviving queens to lay even more eggs.The Argentine ant can be eradicated through the prudent use of ant stations; however the special poisons in the stations do not kill the insects initially. Rather, the ants take the lethal meal back to their colonies where the workers and queens ingest the poison and die. The whole process takes about five days.