UC IPM Makes It Happen
Studies can help stop the Argentine ant in its tracks
The most common ant found in and around the house and garden
in California is the Argentine
These ants are extremely
well adapted to urban areas with mild climates and well-watered gardens.
due to their
aggressive behavior and the enormous size of their
colonies that can literally "team up" with other colonies.
Argentine ants travel rapidly in distinctive trails
along sidewalks, up sides
along branches of trees and shrubs, along baseboards,
and under edges of carpets.
Peter Nonacs, UCLA Department
of Organismic Biology, Ecology and Evolution, and entomologist John
Klotz, UC Riverside,
help identify and predict patterns of Argentine ant
infestations in UCLA campus buildings. They are studying
levels related to landscaping,
light, temperature, pesticide application, nesting
material, and food
and water availability.
In hot, dry weather, ants often search homes for
water, including in bathroom faucets and drains.
on sugars, syrups, honey, fruit juice, fats, and
meat. Outdoors they are
attracted to honeydew, produced by mealybugs and
aphids, because it contains sugars and other nutrients.
Researchers are trying to modify outdoor patterns
of landscaping where infestations occur and are
monitoring the effectiveness
alternatives to reduce infestations. They will
also identify indoor attributes that predict
With these results, they will modify
campus landscapes to reduce ant invasions. If effective, landscaping
solutions could greatly
pesticide use for ant control. In the meantime,
the UC IPM
Program makes recommendations
for the best strategies as currently known.
See our Web site for ant advice.