Linepithema humile

Argentine ant

Family: Formicidae

Origin: South America

Close up of a red Argentine ant on a leaf.
Argentine worker ants are 2-3mm long, wingless and light brown. They move in long continuous defined trails.
Photo credit: Richard Toft, Entecol

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area pest — Site-led
  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Workers are uniformly light brown, wingless and around 2-3mm long. Queens are dark brown and larger, around 10-12mm long.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell any Argentine ant within the Auckland region.
  • In the future, all commercial transport operators moving goods or people to or among Hauraki Gulf islands will need to have a Pest Free Warrant.
  • Anyone intending to move a building to or among Hauraki Gulf islands must notify Auckland Council at least 10 working days prior to movement so that an inspection can be arranged.


Open habitats, coastal areas, scrub, forest edges, urban areas.

Impact on environment

Preys on, competes with and interferes with invertebrates, may prey upon hatchlings in nests. Protects horticultural pest insect species from predation, kills poultry hatchlings, robs beehives and interferes with pest plant biocontrol.



Check for ants before moving potted plants. You can do this by submerging the plant in water for two minutes. Check camping gear, garden soil, bark, building materials, vehicles and vessels for ants before you move them.

Find out more:

For more information on Argentine ants and how to avoid spreading them, visit Visiting Hauraki Gulf islands or contact Auckland Council at