Argentine ants gone

Argentine ants gone

After 16 years of work by Department of Conservation staff and volunteers the Argentine ant has been eradicated from Tiritiri Matangi Island and very close to eradicating on Rangitoto. 

The insects are extremely difficult to eradicate, and the successful operation follows development of innovative bait and detection methods. Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said “they may be small, but these ants are one of the most damaging of all invasive pest species. The World Conservation Union lists them as one of the 100 worst eco-invaders on Earth.” Argentine ants can form supercolonies with a huge appetite. First discovered on Tiritiri Matangi in 2001, they are capable of killing native insects, lizards and even birds, and compete with them for food resources.

The Argentine ant originally established in Auckland in 1990, and is now a problem in an increasing number of towns and cities throughout New Zealand. From one urban area to another, Argentine ants hitch rides in freight, potted plants, rubbish, vehicles and other such goods.

Left unchecked Argentine ants will become a major household and garden pest. Their huge numbers (up to six nests per square metre) mean a huge appetite and they will utilise just about any food source they can find. They have even been known to make their way into refrigerators, microwaves and screw top jars! In California they are considered to be one of the worst household pests.

Argentine ants threaten native invertebrates as they are very aggressive and killing and driving off other insects. They climb trees and can kill baby birds in the nest. They are also active foragers and compete with other species that feed on honeydew or nectar such as insects and birds.

for more information see http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/animal-pests/animal-pests-a-z/argentine-ants/