Linepithema humile

Threats Status

Unwanted Organism

Common Name(s)

Argentine ant




Argentine ant colonies, unlike most other ant species, co-operate with individual from other colonies, and can combine over winter into super-colonies. They are very aggressive. They breed prolifically (do not swarm out to new locations). Argentine ants are highly active in searching for food and unlike most other ant species also climb trees to get to food sources.


Argentine ants are a relatively small ant species and of orange-brown colour.

Similar Species

Native ant species (best to be distinguished by the body colour as most common household ants in New Zealand are black)

Threat To Plants

The Argentine ant can displace most other ant species which has knock on effects on soil processes. They feed extensively on the honeydew produced by homopterans (Lester et al. 2003) and actively disperse the homopterans and protect them from predation. This may increase adventive homopterans in native habitats and domestic and commercial orchards, interfere with native predators of homopterans, and help transmit diseases between plants.


The Argentine ant is found in the Auckland area, Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Wellington City, Nelson City and Christchurch.


Adults are 2-3 mm long

Year Introduced


Reason For Introduction


Colonisation History

First introduced to New Zealand at Mount Smart (Auckland) in 1990 (site of the 1990 Commenwealth Games). They do not spread rapidly (as they do not swarm) but have been recently found in Bay pf Plenty, Christchurch, Nelson, Northland, Waikato and Wellington.