Beware: Asian Needle Ant

 

By Matt Young, Photo by Benoit Guenard of NCSU Biology Department.

Cary, NC – The North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) and NC State are alerting Carolinians to be on the lookout for the Asian Needle Ant, a relatively new pest in the region. NCPMA is the trade association representing the professional pest management industry in North Carolina.

Creepy alert – “Asian Needle Ants have been in this country since the 1920s but only became a pest in the last five years.  We consider it a pest because of its ability to eliminate other ant species and infest homes and its painful, sometimes dangerous, sting,” said Eleanor Spicer Rice, graduate research assistant at North Carolina State University.

The ant is known to sting humans, and, because of their unique venom, the sting can be harmful even if a person is not allergic to other types of stings. NC State biologists tell us that the “rate of anaphylaxis [allergic response] in the Asian Needle Ant is fourfold that due to honeybee stings”.

According to the NCPMA – Asian Needle Ants like damp places. They can be found in old wood, potted plants, under doormats, under dishwashers, etc.

The Glass Test

Unlike other ants, the Asian Needle Ant cannot climb on a smooth surface.  One way to identify an Asian Needle Ant is to put it in a jar and see if it can scale the walls of the jar. My lawyers have advised me to tell you not to try this if you are under 21 or clumsy.

If you suspect you have these in your house you should get a pro in there to eradicate them.

NCPMA  advice:

  • Home Prevention: Make sure all windows and doors are properly sealed and weatherproofed to prevent ants and other insects from entering the home.
  • Gardening and Landscaping: Locate all potted plants and mulch away from the home’s foundation. And, since Asian Needle Ants can be found but not necessarily seen in mulch, always use gloves when gardening.
  • Sting Prevention: Never brush an Asian Needle Ant off of your body as this can cause them to react by stinging.  Instead, attempt to have them walk off of you onto a card or piece of paper.
  • Pest Prevention: Have a qualified pest management company regularly inspect your property for signs of infestations and always call a pest professional if a problem is suspected.  A list of pest management companies statewide is located at www.ncpestmanagement.org.

Helping The Study

The NC State Biology Department seeks input from people on the location of this pest  Help science out – use this link if you are interested.

Ants are good citizens, they place group interests first.  – Clarence Day, author and activist

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