Friday, August 19, 2016

Argentine Ants

They march through the yard, across the boardwalk, up the side of the house, and disappear into my attic. Fine, pink dust filters down onto floors and furniture. They are tiny Argentine ants, an invasive species that has taken up residence on Ocracoke.

Argentine Ant, from Wikipedia (Penarc)

 In 2009 John Brightwell, a postdoctoral researcher at NC State University, began studying the Argentine ant population on Ocracoke Island. The ants have produced a "supercolony" whose numerous queens spawn tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of new workers each year. It is not unusual for an island home to be invaded by great numbers of these ants. Although they do not sting, they are a nuisance, and a threat to the ecology.

According to Eleanor Spicer, author of an informative article, "Coastal Invasion: The Argentine Ant," in Coastwatch, a North Carolina Sea Grant magazine, the ants can be controlled, but probably not eliminated.

If you see these invaders marching across your kitchen counters, go out to the Variety Store and purchase some ant killer. Just be prepared to tackle the problem again when they return.

Our latest Ocracoke Newletter is the story of Augustus Cabarrus, early inlet pilot, and the present day d'Oelsnitz family. Click here to read the Newsletter: Ocracoke...The French Connection

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