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The Brown Rover Ant Is An Invasive Pest Species That Is Becoming More Abundant In Residential Areas

A Giant Hairy Scorpion native to Arizona climbing on a cactus.

The Brown Rover Ant Is An Invasive Pest Species That Is Becoming More Abundant In Residential Areas

Ants that belong to the Brachymyrmex genus are commonly referred to as rover ants, and many species can be found in Arizona including B. patagonicus (formerly known as B. musculus), which is one of the most commonly encountered ant pest of homes in the state. These ant pests are extremely difficult to control due to their habit of invading homes in enormous numbers where they often establish multiple nests within areas that cannot be easily inspected, such as wall voids, ceiling voids, crowded storage rooms and tight attic spaces. The dark rover ant is also difficult to control because it’s an invasive species that was only recently introduced into the United States less than two decades ago. Pest control professionals must understand the biology, foraging habits, and nesting behaviors of the ant pests that they aim to control, which makes controlling the unfamiliar dark rover ant species a particularly challenging task. Unfortunately, another largely unknown non-native rover ant species has become a very common pest in Arizona homes, and its nearly identical in appearance to its dark rover ant relative. This species, B. obsurior, forages in homes where they are also able to establish nests within inaccessible areas.

obsurior, is commonly referred to as the brown rover ant, and like most other rover ant species, workers of the dark rover ant species are exceedingly small at only 1 to 2 mm in length. Workers vary in color from pale yellow to brown, and they nest within soil and moist wood. Workers often invade homes from multiple colony nests located in the surrounding property, and they prefer to feed on sweet-tasting foods. Brown rover ants also seem to thrive in moist conditions, and indoor nests have been found in boxes situated near water heaters and sinks. It has recently been learned that these ants can be transported onto properties within store-bought bags of mulch, and into homes within potted plants.

Have you ever experienced an indoor pest problem that originated from indoor potted plants?

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