Working together with your neighbours to get rid of Argentine or Darwin’s ants gets the best results. Gisborne District Council’s is looking to raise the awareness of Argentine/Darwin’s ants and will employ a coordinator for the next six month.
We employed Bill Dobbie for six months last year. He was very successful in raising public awareness about the problem, door knocking, providing advice and encouraging residents to coordinate their approach when laying bait to deal with these problematic ants. He will build on the work this year.
Council recommends that spring baiting of Argentine ants be carried out while ant colonies are in one area and close to their winter nests before they start foraging further afield. Residents who suspect they may still have Argentine or Darwin’s ants are encouraged to bait earlier rather than wait until the ants are a significant nuisance over the summer months.
The cost of controlling Argentine or Darwin’s ants on private property is the land occupier’s. However Council will continue to supply at a cost of $45.00 a 325 gram tube of Xtinguish ant bait to residents who carry out control.
Suspected ant samples can be delivered to Council for identification but must in an airtight container. Contact details will be recorded by Council so that once the ant sample has been identified then the caller can be advised one way or the other.
Argentine and Darwin’s ants are a problem due to huge populations and appetite. They form distinctive trails that may be five or more ants wide travelling along footpaths, up and along sides of buildings, up tree trunks, along branches and along wooden or concrete fence lines. Multiple queens are produced that form huge colonies with several or more nests on a single residential property. All colonies are genetically related so there is no in fighting between individual groups and they can quickly blanket an area. Where combined colonies are present they can impact on many out door activities.
They eat a wide range of foods such as sweets, and buds of some plants especially the tender honeydew producing species and will forage for foods in homes. They are a problem in gardens and orchards where they protect honeydew producing insects such as aphids and scale insects. The "farming" of these insects by ants allows populations to increase to damaging levels. Native invertebrates and many of our native bird species are also at risk from these ants either through direct attack or by competing with them for resources like nectar or honeydew.
All enquires regarding Argentine or Darwin’s ant should be made to Council’s Customer Services.
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