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By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaAs outdoor temperatures get hotter and conditions get drier,humans aren’t the only ones coming indoors. Argentine ants aremarching inside, too.”If you have them, you definitely know it,” said Dan Suiter, anentomologist with the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. “They travel in trailsinto kitchens, offices and bathrooms searching for food andwater.”Argentine ants are small, just an eighth of an inch long. Nativeto South America, they were accidentally introduced into theUnited States more than 100 years ago in New Orleans coffeeshipments. Sugar, syrup loversDespite this cycle, you can reduce your chances of having theseants in your home by thoroughly rinsing all drink cans beforeplacing them into the garbage or recycling bin and by emptyinggarbage containers often.”Like any other time of year, don’t leave any food or drinksout,” Suiter said. “These ants can find a Coke can with just alittle syrup left in it. They love sugar, and they’ll show up bythe thousands, literally overnight.”Suiter doesn’t recommend arming yourself with an over-the-counterinsect killer.”There aren’t a lot of good products out there for homeowners touse,” he said. “You can spray the ants and get what we call therevenge factor. You kill a lot of ants that way. But you’ll neverget rid of them, because you haven’t hit the nest, where all thequeens are.” Difficult-to-control”Since then, they’ve spread throughout the Southeastern statesand into southern California and Hawaii,” Suiter said. “They’reone of the most pestiferous and most difficult-to-control ants inthe U.S. A single colony can consist of hundreds of thousands ofants.”Suiter says the tiny pests travel indoors in the winter, too. Butthey’re much more of a problem in the summer. “They’re horriblein the summertime,” he said.During the winter, Argentine ants move inside to survive thecold. They live inside closed spaces, like walls, until spring,when they move outside. By fall, their colonies have grown to apeak.”When we encounter a drought, like now, while the colonies aregrowing, they will readily come inside,” Suiter said. “Astemperatures begin to cool, they will re-enter structures tosurvive the cold. And next spring the process will start all overagain.” Use baits or a professionalA bait that can be used indoors is Terro bait, he said. It’s aliquid you can buy at most home-improvement and lawn-and-gardenstores.Another effective bait, he said, is Combat Ant-Killing Gel. “It’savailable in a syringe so you can put small dabs anyplace you seeants,” he said.If you reach a point of desperation, Suiter recommends calling aprofessional pest control company for help.”There is one new product, Termidor, that professionals haveaccess to that performs well against Argentine ants,” Suitersaid. “It’s a spray for use outside the home and is not labeledfor indoor use.”For more information on controlling pests, call your local UGACooperative Extension agent at 1-800-ASK-UGA1. Or order thehomeowner edition of the UGA Cooperative Extension PestManagement Handbook.To order the homeowner handbook, send a $15 check payable to theUniversity of Georgia in care of the UGA Ag Business Office, Room215 Conner Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Designate your check for thehomeowner edition of the Pest Management Handbook.