It all happened in a blur.
They started as natives of Argentina. They expanded to neighbouring Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. Brazil is the world’s largest source of sugar. They fed on that, and stowed away on our boats. We had no idea. Now, they are everywhere. The world is at war with these pests, and the world is losing.
Argentine ants are one of the world’s most invasive species. They can survive the harshest locales in the world, displacing ant species ten times their size. They can kill large insects like cockroaches and infest entire islands. They are the perfect silent colonizers.
Our inattention to these puny creatures became our own undoing. They were there. Spreading like wildfire right under our feet. Household pesticide cannot even kill them. Argentine ants will ransack homes, bird nests and lizard dwellings as long as their queens live. Yes, queens — plural.
Argentine ants are not your garden-variety insects. They probably killed those too. Ant colonies of this calibre have multiple queens that allow for maximum expansion capability. Buzz-Off Pest Control Auckland notes that unlike other species, queen Argentine ants have no wings, and thankfully cannot migrate on their own. But, they are quick to break away from the rest of the colony, establishing their own just 150 meters away. This means that in a short span of time, several Argentine ant colonies can dominate a single stretch of land.
There is a glimmer of hope in the war, however. A notable victory happened in Titiri Matangi Island, where vigilance and unyielding efforts kept the ants from defiling the local sanctuary. Apparently, slow-acting poison is the ultimate weapon against them. A Boric acid ‘bait’ is offered to the diligent foragers, who bring it back to their respective colonies. The poison finds its way even to the queens, and before they know it, the entire population is dying. Like a wedding feast where everyone drinks Joffrey’s wine.
Argentine ants are still a vital link in a larger ecological chain. They are resilient and cunning, and perhaps can never be completely eradicated. But, people still need to control their spread. They are very harmful to plants and animals, and if poisoning entire colonies is the answer, then it is a sacrifice nature has to accept. We are at war, after all.