Woke up this morning to yet another ant invasion and after about an hour of ant clean-up I hit the computer to try and find a more permanent solution [insert diabolical laugh here]. I’d heard that our particular ants, the Argentine ants, were pretty much impossible to wipe out because their colonies are so damn big, but I didn’t realize HOW big till I read this report from UC Berkeley. “California harbors a huge supercolony of nonnative Argentine ants, extending from Ukiah to beyond the Mexican border.” Supercolony? Did I mention that this is like a horror movie? That’s nearly the entire West Coast!!!! In Argentina, brawling competition between rival colonies keeps them from swinging out of control but all our ants are descended from a few that came over with shipments of coffee and sugar in the 1890s. They’re practically clones and recognize each other as “family,” swapping workers and even queens. Through sheer mass they are wiping out native ant species, even when they’re ten times their size, which in turn has caused the decline of the Coastal Horned Lizard (who apparently love to nibble all those other ants but can’t stand the Argentine ones any more than I can. So I guess I should cancel my order of ten crates of Coastal Horned Lizards).
Thus endeth the biology lesson, but sadly not our ant problem.