Two Dangerous Ants Are At War, And Both Are Dangerous
Two potentially dangerous and highly damaging invasive ant pests are currently at war with each other in the United States. Several years ago, a researcher from North Carolina State University in Raleigh accidently discovered the fierce conflict that still exists between the two ants. The war is between Argentine ants and Asian Needle Ants. The researcher, Eleanor Spicer, had discovered needle ant nests within Argentine ant territory in North Carolina. This was a surprising find since Argentine ants are known for destroying all other ant species in their territory. These ants are unique for forming colonies that can span incredibly large areas of land. These colonies are referred to as super colonies. The largest super colony of Argentine ants ever discovered was found in the Mediterranean and it spanned a distance of six hundred kilometers. Surprisingly, Spicer soon discovered that the Argentine ants in North Carolina were not gaining much ground. The ants had suddenly stopped progressing once they arrived at a two square mile area. The reason for their sudden halt had to do with the Asian needle ant. It turned out that the needle ants could hold their ground against Argentine ants. At the time, the needle ants were prevailing against Argentine ants. A few months later, Spicer noticed that the Argentine ants had retreated significantly. But she was not yet sure if needle ants were responsible for the retreat.
In order to determine if the needle ants were forcing the Argentine ants into retreating. Researchers poisoned large populations of needle ants in order to see how Argentine ants would respond. Soon the Argentine ants regained ground, which indicated that the loss of needle ants in the region allowed Argentine ants to gain an advantage. Clearly the two ants were at war. Evidence is showing that Asian needle ants are winning the war. Since Argentine ants cause significant damage to American crops and infrastructure, nobody will miss them. However, Asian needle ants are also invasive to America, and unlike Argentine ants, they can cause extremely painful stings. In allergic individuals death from Asian needle ant stings can result. More people are allergic to Asian needle ant stings than to honey bee stings. The needle ants are also harmful to the environment since they either scare away, or kill termites and other ants. These insects are essential for maintaining the health of the natural environment in America.
Do you think that Asian needle ant stings will become in issue in America?