Are Argentine ants harmfully invasive?

Well, they are invasive, but how bad for biodiversity are they? Argentine ants seem to be taking over in areas of California with super-sized colonies. They’ve become quite a nuisance in this neighborhood. I wondered how “bad” are they for the ecosystem and biodiversity?

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There’s a lot of research being done by folks in the UC system on these. Some general info here:

There’s some research showing long term impacts, especially on native ant communities (I only read the abstract here):

and they are also implicated in the decline of horned lizards due to their displacement of native ants (the favored prey of the lizards).

They are a pest to humans and in some ag systems as well, but I’m not as familiar with those impacts.


Thanks! That was very helpful and just what I needed to know.

We have been keeping them at bay (half successfully) with powders like cinnamon, baking powder, and baby powder and caulking known entry points. But, with the summer heat, it is an endless struggle. They appear daily with no identifiable point of entry, like they are traveling through the walls.

And, now we are selling our home and need to find a less unsightly solution. Any ideas on if there is a “safer” ant trap to use for this? :woman_shrugging:


No idea! I haven’t battled them personally. I’ve used cinnamon before against various ants. You could check out diatomaceous earth which when crawling insects encounter dry will get in their joints and cause them to die from dehydration. Maybe others will have some better ideas!

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Thanks, I’ve not used diatomaceous earth. Normally, I use cinnamon/baby powder/baking soda, which blocks their spiracles so they cannot breath. It’s non-toxic, but messy. But, I don’t want to have those powder messes around when we are getting ready to show the home to buyers.


Yes, diatomaceous earth would have the same visual effect (looks like flour). Just washing with dishsoap can disrupt chemical trails of ants, so that could be a very short term fix (some hours) so might work immediately before an open house, etc.

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