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An Ant Infestation Breaks out in N.Y.C.’s Apartments

By: April Sheng

On the morning of May, Katie Guhl comes home to a surprise. Her kitchen is covered from ceiling to floor with ants. Even more mind boggling, she had not left a single speck of food when she headed out of her apartment. In addition to that, she lives on the 6th floor.

Ms. Guhl’s experience was just one of the many reports of the recent ant infestation on higher floors. Ants generally like sticking to yards where there is soil and therefore, do not prefer high altitudes. However, scientists recently found out that a new species of ants, originating from Europe, have reached New York. These ants called Lasius emarginatus may have arrived by ship as Samantha Kennett, a graduate student at Kennesaw State University hypothesizes.

These ants were found to be in places such as Times Square, trees, and even the tops of skyscrapers. “It forages in trees,” Ms. Kennett said. “It climbs a lot. They found it in second story buildings in Europe.” Exactly just how high these ants can climb is unknown.

Lasius emarginatus, unlike the ants you normally see, aren’t interested in food. Since these ants live in an urban area, they would have thought to be consuming human food, however, they aren’t. This peculiar discovery leads to many more questions: How do these ants survive then? What exactly do they eat? Well, these ants eat a substance that comes from trees (honeydew), they also consume other insects.

Now don’t start worrying that these ants will take over America. They aren’t invincible. Ms. Guhl, Mrs. Russell Paige used poisons to kill these insects fairly quickly. However, these ants do not die right away, as Dr. Rob Dunn, a professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University said. You can likely get a mild case of stomach poisoning because the poison doesn’t immediately have an effect on the ants, they can crawl into you dishwasher and carry the poison with it.

What ever the matter is with these ants, the sudden infestation of it in apartments certainly is bizarre.

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