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How Big Are Argentine Ants Nest?

Updated on: February 25, 2022

Argentine ants are an invasive species native to Argentina and Brazil but have been found in places all over America since the 1890s. An Argentine ant infestation is usually indicated by an unpleasant smell and ant congregations on moist surfaces wherein you will most likely find an ant’s nest nearby. 

So how big are argentine ants’ nests? On average, their nests can measure up to 20 cm or 8 inches in depth. While 20 cm may seem small, these nests can house hundreds of thousands of argentine ants and cause a severe infestation if left untreated. To fully get rid of an Argentine ant infestation, it’s best to contact professional pest control services.

Read More: Argentine Ants vs Odorous House Ants


Are Argentine Ant Nests Huge?

Relatively speaking, Argentine ant’s nest aren’t that big. Previous studies have shown that they are usually only 8 inches in depth and won’t grow any bigger than an average ruler. However, with each Argentine ant only being roughly 2.6 to 3.3mm longer, their nests can house hundreds of thousands of Argentine ants at any given time. 

At this population estimate, a single nest of Argentine ants could infest multiple rooms in your household, if not the entire place. So while the nest may seem small to the average human, these nests could cause big trouble for nearby organisms and ecosystems. 

Why Do Argentine Ant Nests Populate So Quickly?

What makes Argentinian colonies so different from other colonies is the fact that they house multiple queens rather than just 1. On average Argentine ant nests have 90% of their inhabitants as worker ants and 10% as queen ants. 

This means that for every 1000 worker ants, there are almost 15 queen ants that’s sole purpose is to keep growing the colony structure. With more than 1 queen laying eggs in the colony, Argentine ants reproduce exponentially faster than most other types of ants. 

In some cases, Argentine queen ants will mate with male ants to form a whole new entire colony that will be included in the original colony to form interconnected nests. With more nests in the area, the Argentine ants are able to further their ecological domination of the food and water sources available which makes it even harder to exterminate them. 

If left untreated, these colonies will form super colonies that can contain millions of ants and cause a major outbreak. In most cases, you won’t be able to address the issue by yourself and will need a professional to ensure that all the Argentine ants are exterminated 

Where Are Argentine Ant Nests Usually Found?

Argentine ant nests can be found in a multitude of places surrounding your home and inside your home. To thrive as a colony, Argentine ants need a location that is moist and located near a food and water source. 

That’s why they often settle in rocks in the soil, refuse piles, mulch, rotting wood, and logs as they offer the perfect atmosphere for them to live. If by any chance they make it inside your home, they’re most likely to infest your bathroom and kitchen wall first as these places are damp and allow water to build up. 

Learn More: How To Prevent Argentine Ants From Entering Your Home

 Why Are Argentine Ants Harmful?

Having a bunch of ants at home is never fun but unlike regular ants, Argentine ants can cause quite a few problems to the ecosystem as well as be hazardous to your health? Here are some reasons as to why Argentine ants are considered harmful pests in the home:

1) Disrupting the Ecosystem 

Argentine ants are known for being quite aggressive and territorial when it comes to the water and food supplies available to them. When there is competition for these resources, with the sheer size of the Argentine ant colony, they’re able to isolate these resources for themselves leaving other members of the ecosystem at a loss. While this may seem like a good thing in regards to keeping away some pests, it actually invites plant-eating insects to your garden and breaks the natural food chain in it.

Argentine ants can keep animals and insects like birds away from your garden but with the ants keeping these insect predators away, other plant pests thrive causing damage to your garden. These insects include mealybugs, scales, and aphids wherein they form a mutualism relationship with the Argentine ants which allow for higher pest densities and intense damage to plants. 

2) Possible Carriers of Disease

As Argentine ants move around to find new sources of food and water, they bring with them foreign pathogens and bacteria that could be harmful to bees and possibly human health. According to a study done last 2015, Argentine ants when invading a location near bees are likely to transmit a pathogen that causes a deformed wing virus that could contribute to their mortality. In terms of human health, Argentine ants have been known to bring salmonella and other food-borne illnesses when in contact with human food. 

How to Avoid Attracting Argentine Ants Into Your Home?

As Argentine ants aren’t your typical ant species, they may be a little harder to kill off once in your house. If you don’t want to deal with them, the best thing to do is prevent them from coming into your house in the first place. Here are some preventative measures you can take to lessen the likelihood of an ant infestation.

1) Eliminate Stagnant Water Sources in Your Home

Argentine ants usually form nests near food and water sources as they are needed for their survival. If your house has easy access to a stagnant water source, they’re more likely to perceive it as a prime location that can meet their needs. Fountains, pipe leaks, bathrooms, and basements are usually the main areas with stagnant water which draw in Argentine ants to your home. 

If you want to avoid Argentine ants, it would be best to regularly check for pipe leaks in the bathroom and basement and empty out your fountain when not in use. While this may not completely deter Argentine ants from your house, it will help keep them at bay. 

2) Trim Tree Branches and Trees Near Your Home

Another area wherein Argentine ants like to settle are tree branches, tree stumps and shrubs as they can be a great source of food and water. While you can’t keep them from trees around your house, you can help reduce the chances of them entering your house. By trimming the tree branches that extend closer to your home’s entrances, you can stop them from making your house their food source and just keep them in the trees at the bare minimum. 

3) Keep Food Waste Sealed

If you’re throwing away any type of food waste, it would be best to keep them in a sealed trash can or container to avoid attracting Argentine ants to them. Most Argentine ants don't have a food preference and will most likely form ant trails leading to their food source.

While you may see it as food waste, Argentine ants may consider it a viable source of food and create a nearby nest for easy access to your food waste. In addition to keeping food waste tightly sealed, you may want to bring it outside of the house immediately to reduce the chances of ants getting inside your home. 

How to Get Rid of An Argentine Ant Nest

man keeping his home pest free from argentine ants

Big or small, it’s quite difficult to treat Argentine ant nests effectively. If done wrong, there is a chance that the colony structure will re-emerge and re-infest your home in a matter of months. To truly know if the de-infestation treatment worked, you will have to wait 28 to 74 days as this is the regular cycle for Argentine ants to reproduce and mature. If you’re looking for a way to treat an Argentine ant infestation or get rid of their nest, you can try the following:

1) Supreme IT: Outdoor and Garden Treatment

Supreme IT is an insecticide that has been proven to work against multiple insects including Argentine ants. Not only will it kill existing colonies and destroy their nests, but it will also deter other colonies from settling in the area later on. 

Supreme IT is mainly used for outside extermination wherein you will have to spray the solution all over your house and garden to be fully effective. As it’s important to have a certain level of solution saturation, the amount of Supreme IT you will need is dependent on the size of your house. For every 1000sq. ft of your house you will need 1oz of Supreme IT diluted in water to be effective against the Argentine ant infestation.

If the Argentine ant nests are found in your garden, you’ll need to locate the nest usually indicated by a large mound on the ground and directly add Supreme IT to the opening then saturate the exterior with the solution. This will ensure that all the ants will come into contact with the solution and be exterminated. 

After spraying down your house and killing off the Argentine ants, the Supreme IT solution should work as a preventative treatment for the next three months. Once 3 months have passed, you’ll have to treat your house again with Supreme IT to prevent future Argentine ant nests from settling in your house.

2) Ant-Trax Ant Bait for Indoor Nest Infestation

As Argentine ants are attracted to sweet things, Ant-Trax Ant Bait sweet formulation is great for treating ant infestations. By coaxing the Argentine ants with a false sweet scent, Ant-Trax works as liquid bait to kill the colony from the inside. The ants will bring the solution back for the colony to eat, slowly poisoning the entire Argentine ant population. If you’re experiencing an Argentine ant infestation inside your home, this may be a more suitable solution as it is not harmful to humans with proper use. 

To treat your house with Ant-Trax Ant Bait, you will need to apply at least a pea-sized drop of the solution per foot where you have noticed the Argentine ant nest. Leave the solution for up to 10 days to allow it to fully take effect. In about 2 weeks after the application, you should notice a decrease in ant activity and diminishing numbers of Argentine ants in your house. 

3) Fipro Foaming Aerosol for Indoor Treatments

Similar to the Ant-Trax Ant Bait, Fipro Foaming Aerosol kills the invasive populations of Argentine ants by enticing them to bring it back inside their nest. While it may also kill the ants on contact, it will most likely do more harm when brought back to the colony as food. This type of insect repellant can be used indoors and applied in the bathroom, kitchen, doors, and other places where you have noticed ants. Within one week of applying the foam, you should see the solution take effect and notice a decrease in ant infestations around your house.

4) DIY Solution to Control the Infestation

If you prefer not to use any toxic chemicals in your house, there are a few DIY solutions that may help control the growth of the Argentine ant colony, but it is unlikely to completely exterminate them. It has been said that a mix of water, alcohol, and dish soap will kill the majority of the ants outside the colony. Additionally, using diatomaceous earth may deter the ants from entering parts of your home. 

While all of these treatments and solutions may potentially fix your Argentine ant infestation and prevent them from nesting in your home, there is only so much these things can do once the infestation has become severe. If you are having trouble with the number of Argentine ants or seem to have recurring infestations, you may want to call your local pest control services to deal with the issue professionally. 

Learn More: How to Stop Argentine Ants From Invading Your Home

Get Rid of Pests and Insects with Permakill Exterminating 

No matter how tidy you keep your home, there is always a possibility of mice, rats, and other pests finding a way in. Due to the huge colony sizes housed in most Argentine ant nests, you may experience that they consistently reoccur in your house even after applying treatments. With this particular native ant species, you need to eliminate them all or risk them simply repopulating in your home. 

At Permakill Exterminating, we offer top-quality exterminating services that are sure to solve all your pest problems. Using the best techniques and equipment in the industry, we can guarantee a safe and effective removal of any kind of pest in your home today. Contact us about your pest control concerns and get a free quote today.


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