Nest site selection by the Argentine ant and suitability of artificial nests as a control tool

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The Argentine ant is an invasive species that has been introduced worldwide causing devastating effects on entire ecosystems. Control strategies might be focused on slowing its rate of spread to limit its establishment inside yet non-invaded areas. For this, a better knowledge about nest selection is necessary to identify rapidly and accurately nest locations where to apply control measures. Herein, nest site selection by the Argentine ant, nests' physical characteristics and their longevity were studied in three invaded cork oak secondary forest. Results showed that this species shifts nest locations seasonally to keep appropriate microclimatic conditions, nesting mainly underneath rocks during cold and rainy months and in tree bases during warmer periods. The terrain features at micro-scale (orientation and slope) were found to influence the distribution of the Argentine ant nests beneath rocks. Additionally, artificial nests used as a control tool were tested, finding that their use may be suitable if they are set in appropriate locations and before the ants start migrating to winter aggregations ​
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