Argentine Ants Ant Control, How to Get Rid of Argentine Ants

Argentine Ant Control: How To Get Rid of Argentine Ants
Argentine Ant Identification

This is a picture of the worker Argentine ant. The Argentine worker ants are the ones most commonly spotted. They are light to dark brown and are about 1/12–1/8-inch long. They have a uniform dull brown color. Their antennae are strongly elbowed (12 segments), and there is a single node in front of the abdomen (the waist). The Argentine ants are one-node ants. The Petiole (the node that separates the thorax from the abdomen) has one erect node. The thorax (middle part supporting the legs) on the Argentine ant has an uneven shape when viewed from the side.
Argentine Ants Ant Control, How to Get Rid of Argentine Ants

  • Workers:about 1/8inch in length
  • Queens range from 1/6 to1/4 inches in length.
  • Legs are in proportion to the body


Inspection is crucial for complete control. Before you can treat you need to know the areas that these Ants frequent or where their colonies are located. During the inspection, you will focus on finding these problems areas where they harbor, forage, and where their colony is located.

Where To Inspect

Search outside in your yard, near flower beds, mulch beds, in the soil, under yard debris (rocks, logs, wood piles, leaf litter, walkways, pavement, and driveways), and all around your yard. Near your property outside, search for possible entry points into the structure like window frames, door frames, electrical/plumbing penetrations, and any small cracks and crevices where you have noticed ants. Indoors, check in the bathroom, kitchens, basements, and attics. Search near electrical outlets, close to window frames, door frames, and under the sink in the bathroom and kitchen.

What To Look For

You're looking for Argentine Ant forage trails and colonies. Follow the trails and see if they lead you into any wall voids, cracks or crevices, or if you're outside if they lead you directly to any possible colonies or nests. You can always create a trail by placing bait (like peanut butter) and seeing if a trail develops. Follow it back to the source and this will lead to areas with high Argentine Ant activity. Once you have discovered their nests or foraging trails, this is where you will apply treatment.


Once you have confirmed Argentine Ant activity, it is time to begin treatment. Remember to read all product labels and follow their application instructions, and stay safe by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Step 1 - Outdoor Treatment

Begin treatment outdoors. You will use one product, Reclaim IT. Reclaim IT is a powerful insectcide that targets more than 75+ insect pests, and it both kills and repels ants. You will use this product to drench any colonies outside, and to enact a perimeter barrier around your structure (if you have an infestation indoors) that will prevent Ants from coming inside. It also has a residual (or long-term effects) that will last for 3 months.

Reclaim IT

To do perimeter treatments around your property to prevent infestations indoors, you will mix 1 ounce of Reclaim IT with a gallon of water inside a pump sprayer. This application rate will treat 1,000 square feet. Spray all along the perimeter of your property by spraying 3 feet up and 3 feet out from the foundation of your structure. While spraying in this manner also spray window frames, door frames, eaves, soffits, garage doors, rain gutters, electrical/plumbing penetrations, and cracks and crevices where you have seen traveling in.
To drench any colonies you're able to find, first, spray all around the opening of the colony to affect any Ants that manage to escape the treatment. Next, you'll want to open the cap in your pump sprayer and directly pour the solution directly into the nest or colony until it is completely drenched.

Do not let people or pets enter areas treated until 2 to 4 hours have passed.
Step 2 - Indoor Treatment

Now you're ready for indoor treatment. You will use two products, Fipro, and Ant-Trax Ant Bait. Both these products will be used to target ant trails and colonies that might be indoors. Both these products are non-repellents that serve as bait and allow the ants to become infected slowly and carry back the bait back to the colonies where further elimination occurs.

Musty Smell

A musty odor is emitted when the Argentine ant is crushed. The Odorous ant also has a musty smell when crushed and is a one-node ant, but the node shapes are different. The Argentine ant node is pointed and the Odorous ant's node is hidden by the abdomen. Argentine ants may be confused with the Crazy ants and Small (False) Honey ants, but the Crazy ants and Small (False) Honey ants have a circle of hairs at tip of the abdomen, while the Argentine ant does not have hair on the tip of its abdomen.

Argentine Ant Life Cycle

The Argentine winged queen ants can produce fertile eggs for up to 10 years after mating once with a winged male. Another difference in this type of ant compared to other ants is that several productive queens can share the same colony. One or more of these productive queens may leave with some of the workers to form a new colony when it gets crowded (this is known as budding).

Queens lay as many as 60 eggs per day. Development from egg to adult averages 74 days for workers. Worker longevity is 12 months. Argentine queen ants also clean and feed themselves and feed and groom immatures, in addition to laying eggs.

The grub-like larvae are fed and tended by the workers, pupate, and then emerge. to join their sisters in the colony (worker ants are all sterile females). The white eggs are laid in the summer, and the larvae emerge after about 28 days. The larval stage may take from 11–60 days. The pupal period may last from 10–25 days or more. Development from egg to adult usually takes about two months, but may take up to 4–5 months. During the summer months, highly mobile satellite nests are usually established close to food sources.

Survival and Persistance

Argentine ants can live in conditions where other ant species could not survive. Both rural and suburban environments have Argentine ants. Colonies are large (mega colonies), often containing hundreds of queens. These ants are very adaptable. If it is too dry or wet outside, they may enter structures in large numbers. They often use utility lines or overhead tree branches to enter buildings. If they find a food source in your home, you may see these small brown ants in massive numbers. They often are found near sugary foods when they come inside to hunt for food.

Argentine Ant Diet

Argentine ants prefer sweet foods and are often found tending aphids or scale insects on plants, using them as a source of honeydew. Argentine ant workers like sweet foods such as syrup, fruit juices or plant secretions, but will gather protein/grease-based foods to bring back to the queens and larvae. They gather food day and night. Of all the smaller sized ants, this one prefers sweet more than protein. The queens and larvae eat protein/grease foods (and baits) almost exclusively, while the workers eat sugar-based foods (and baits).

Argentine Ant Control

Prevent and Seal Access Points

As with all insects that may gain access into your home, consider sealing up with caulk any small crack and crevice in the foundation or window areas where outside pests could enter. Get rid of any excess vegetation, such as tree branches near your home. They may serve as a highway into your home to enter.

Keep tight lids on trash containers and clean up any food particles, particularly sweet foods. Argentine ants are attracted to food and water, so eliminate any standing water such as birdbaths, grill covers, and standing water in flower pots.

Firewood piles may be ideal nesting sites for Argentine ants, so you may need to remove them.

Inspect For Ant Nests

These ants like to nest in moist soil next to buildings or under them, particularly near plants and sidewalks.
They nest near water and food sources. Sometimes they will nest inside a structure, such as a bathtub set above a slab foundation, under expansion joints on slabs, under insulation in an exterior wall void, and in interior potted plants. Foraging ants will enter the house when outside conditions are extremely dry or wet. The foraging worker ants will travel along regular paths from the nest and branch out to explore an area. Their foraging patterns may be so extensive as to incorporate a next-door neighbor's yard. Baiting would be the best solution in these cases. Most Argentine ants establish new nests by swarming to mate. These ants mate inside the nest from reproductives produced inside the nest. Argentine ants are incredibly mobile and will relocate colonies frequently. They will establish new colonies many times because of many external factors such as food sources, changing temperature, and proximity to woody plants. Tracking Argentine ants can be easy because they generate active pheromone trails when foraging. In many areas, you will see pheromone trail super-highways three and four lanes wide.

Argentine Ant Control Using Ant Bait

The use of residual sprays or dusts stress ant colonies, causing them to split into sub-colonies and scatter. This scattering, also called budding, multiplies the number of ant colonies, and thereby multiplies your ant problem.

When you bait, use a slow-acting bait. Quick-kill insecticides and baits will only kill the foraging ants, not allowing those worker ants to take the bait back home to feed the queen, nest workers, and brood.

If the ant bait that you are currently using is not effective (if the ants are not visiting the bait) you will need to change the baits. Slow-acting baits provide a variety of the foods the ants find in nature. Examples are: other insects (proteins/grease-based baits), nectar, aphid honeydew, and plant products (sugar and carbohydrates found in sweet-based baits).

Choosing a bait requires an understanding of the nutritional needs of the colony. To be sure that you have all the baiting needs met, you may want to be ready with a sugar/carbohydrate-based bait, a grease/fat-based bait, and a protein-based bait.