An invasion of Argentine ants continues to drive Patea residents to despair.

Four Square owner Yogita Patel said large numbers of ants still remained in the town and are "everywhere".

"They get in the pantry, the wardrobe, just everywhere. That's the most annoying thing."

She said while her house was inundated the store was not.


It had to close for a short period while it was sprayed for the pests and is now ant-free.

She said residents had written to the South Taranaki District Council to try to get something done on a town-wide scale.

Earlier in the week, Patea Community Board member Ruth MacKay told the Chronicle the ants are in the town in their millions.

"It doesn't matter how many times you spray they just keep multiplying and coming back. And we're not talking hundreds, we're talking millions."

Mrs MacKay said there were many elderly people in Patea who simply could not cope with the plague.

"They're everywhere. Any food you have, you absolutely have to keep it in the fridge. It's out of control and everyone is so sick of these ants."

South Taranaki District Council acting chief executive John McKenzie has said the Argentine ants are listed in the Taranaki Regional Council Pest Management Strategy as a pest, and the council will be working with the Patea Community Board to advocate for greater attention by the regional council on this problem.

"Hopefully, that attention can reduce the ant population and nuisance that it creates," he said.

Landcare Research says the World Conservation Union lists the Argentine ant as one of the worlds worst invasive species. The Argentine ant originally established in Auckland in 1990, and is now a problem in an increasing number of towns and cities throughout New Zealand.

The ant is native to northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil.