The pest control industry ranks ants as the most significant household arthropod pests in the United States where more than 40 species are categorized as structural pests, many of which can be found in Ventura County. Two decades ago, the annual cost to control ant pests in the country amounted to 1.7 billion dollars, and today the cost may be more than triple this amount. However, the most common ant pests in homes vary by region. For example, the black carpenter ant is the most significant and costly ant pest in the northeast, while another carpenter ant species, C. tortuganus, is the most problematic ant pest in Florida. In southern California, the Argentine ant is the most common ant pest encountered by pest control professionals. Industry professionals in California have also ranked the Argentine ant as the most difficult ant pest to control.

While Argentine ant infestations almost always require professional intervention to eradicate, some may argue that the red-imported fire ant is the most difficult species to eradicate from properties in southern California. Both of these species are non-native, and although the red imported fire ant has been found infesting homes in and around most counties in southern California, including Ventura County, they have yet to establish a significant invasive habitat in the region. Argentine ants, on the other hand, continue to spread due to their habit of displacing native ant species as they spread to new areas. These invasive pests also proliferate rapidly since they have very few natural predators in southern California. These factors make Argentine ants particularly hard to control around homes.

Around ⅓ of all ant pests collected from properties by pest control professionals in and around Los Angeles are Argentine ants. The vast majority of people with Argentine ant infestations stated that the ants caused a considerable nuisance despite most infestations occuring around homes rather than within them. Although Argentine ant infestations are difficult to control, infestations can be prevented with perimeter treatments.

Have you ever found Argentine ants in your home or on your property?