Study: Argentine ants dependent on water

Mar 31, 2006

A University of California-San Diego study has shown water to be mainly responsible for Argentine ant invasions.

David Holway, an assistant professor of biology who conducted the study with graduate student Sean Menke, found Argentine ants in Southern California need wet soil to live and breed. So residents plagued by indoor infestations might find relief by shutting off or substantially limiting the use of outdoor irrigation.

The scientists say they were able within a matter of weeks to increase the abundance and encourage the spread of Argentine ants by irrigating normally dry land. Once irrigation ended and soil moisture declined, the researchers found, the number of ants returned to pre-irrigation levels.

"This is the first, definitive study that provides unambiguous experimental evidence that soil moisture can control invasions of Argentine ants," said Holway.

The dark-brown ants, are about 3 millimeters in length, are thought to have entered the United States aboard ships carrying coffee from Brazil during the 1890s, then expanded throughout California and the southern parts of the United States.

Holway and Menke report their research in the March 30 issue of the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Study finds that employees who are open about religion are happier

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Invasive tawny crazy ant found in Georgia

Sep 18, 2013

The tawny crazy ant has made its way into Georgia for the first time. University of Georgia Extension agent James Morgan in Dougherty County discovered the ant—which originates in South America—on Aug. ...

Recommended for you

Consumer loyalty driven by aesthetics over functionality

15 hours ago

When designing a new car, manufacturers might try to attract consumers with more horsepower, increased fuel efficiency or a lower price point. But new research from San Francisco State University shows consumers' loyalty ...

Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China

17 hours ago

A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China, according to a study published December 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xiao-hong Chen f ...

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

17 hours ago

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.