Crazy Ants On The March

Crazy ant

Recently at the Entomological Society of America annual meeting in Knoxville, TN, University of Florida researchers presented findings on 15 insecticidal baits evaluated for an integrated pest management system tailored to crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva), an invasive that can establish colonies with multiple queens and millions of workers, blanketing lawns and sidewalks, killing native species, shorting out electrical systems, and creating headaches for homeowners, farmers, and pest-control operators.

Crazy ants are present in Florida and several other Gulf Coast states. Currently, 20 Florida counties have reported invasive crazy ant colonies, with Sarasota County hardest-hit. Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana also have experienced problems with them, which probably arrived in the U.S. 10 to 20 years ago via soil or plant material transported on ships.

Though the ant does not pack a painful bite or sting, scientists are concerned that it could gravely impact Florida’s agricultural industries if it enters agricultural systems, said Faith Oi, a UF/IFAS assistant Extension scientist. In Colombia, where the species has been established for decades, harvests sometimes are negatively impacted by the overwhelming presence of crazy ants in crop fields.

The species is often referred to as the “Caribbean crazy ant,” but it appears that name may be misleading. Until recently it was thought that well-publicized infestations in Florida were caused by a species present in the state for half a century, N. pubens. But a research paper published this year showed that the crazy ants swarming in Jacksonville and Gainesville were actually the species N. fulva. Oi said it’s likely that some, if not all, Gulf Coast infestations are caused by this species, which hails from South America.

So far, efforts to control crazy ants have involved a patchwork of approaches, many of which failed.

Though none of the products were developed specifically for crazy ants, the researchers found that two granular baits – Amdro Pro (BASF) and Maxforce Complete (Bayer Environmental Science) killed crazy ants fastest in laboratory testing, probably because those baits had the most “appetite appeal” and were eaten more readily than other products, said Dawn Calibeo, an entomology doctoral candidate with UF/IFAS. “There’s not the ideal combination of bait and class of active ingredient we’d like,” Calibeo said. “Most of the formulations we tested were developed for fire ants, which feed on fats, so they contain oil. Crazy ants hate oil.”

It will be several months before full recommendations are ready, she said. But, based on her studies of crazy ants’ feeding and nesting habits, Calibeo has developed some preliminary suggestions for pest-control professionals:
First, it’s crucial to attack the problem early in the year, preferably in February or March before the weather warms up and the ants begin breeding. She says to “bait early and bait according to label directions.” Professionals should use baits after applying a contact insecticide to reduce ant numbers, but be careful not to place baits where they’ll be contaminated by contact insecticides.

Funding for the research was provided by the USDA and Bayer.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories
Apples & PearsApple Scab Alert
May 18, 2015
Kari Peter of Penn State University Extension warned growers of possible apple scab and fire blight infections following the rainy Read More
Disease ControlHow To Control Disease During Rainy Weather
May 18, 2015
The recent warm, wet weather conditions are prime for fungal and bacterial diseases, says Annemiek Schilder of Michigan State University Read More
CitrusHouse Votes To Stop “Flawed” Waters Of The United States Rule
May 15, 2015
The U.S. House of Representatives approved this week bipartisan legislation that requires the withdrawal of the Waters of the United Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’ Respect
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusBeekeepers Lost 40% Of Bees In 2014-15
May 14, 2015
Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of Read More
FruitsBest Time To Apply Sprays For Insect Control
May 13, 2015
Following petal fall is when apple growers need to be making applications to control plum curculio and European apple sawfly, Read More
Apples & PearsTips For Apogee Applications
May 13, 2015
Michigan State University Extension educators say applications at king bloom petal fall help suppress fire blight. Read More
The Latest
UF/IFAS developmental biologist Dennis Gray looks at the progress of grapevines in a vineyard.
Crop ProtectionResearcher Using ‘Precision Breeding’ To Cr…
May 20, 2015
Breakthrough would mean significant savings on pesticide and fungicide sprays. Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’…
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusBeekeepers Lost 40% Of Bees In 2014-15
May 14, 2015
Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of Read More
Apples & PearsTips For Apogee Applications
May 13, 2015
Michigan State University Extension educators say applications at king bloom petal fall help suppress fire blight. Read More
CitrusSyngenta Rejects Monsanto’s Buyout Bid
May 8, 2015
Company says $45 billion offer undervalues future prospects. Read More
Bagrada bug
Crop ProtectionFlorida Potato, Cole Crop Growers Offered Chance To Per…
May 7, 2015
Workshop to focus on major, as well as, emerging insects and diseases. Read More
Crop ProtectionVestaron’s Bioinsecticide Now Registered For Use On Mor…
May 6, 2015
Bioagriculture company Vestaron has received expanded EPA registration for its biological insect control products. These bioinsecticides, which are derived from Read More
Crop ProtectionBioWorks Launches Two New Versions Of RootShield Biofun…
May 5, 2015
BioWorks, Inc., has launched two new versions of its popular RootShield® biological fungicide, RootShield Seed Treatment and RootShield AG. RootShield Read More
Crop ProtectionExpect The Unexpected With Plant Diseases
May 1, 2015
Whether or not you are a basketball fan, it’s hard not to notice all the publicity and hype surrounding “March Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Emergency Exemption On Carro…
April 28, 2015
Crop protection company Adama has announced that the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has issued a Crisis Read More
Crop ProtectionBrandt Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
Brandt, a manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, has added Zonix biofungicide to its line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix, manufactured Read More
Crop ProtectionMore Help Needed To Track Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, …
April 14, 2015
This pest, a problem in apples, tomatoes, and other fruit in the North, has recently moved into Georgia.    Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Ou…
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests…
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Fungicide, Orondis, Announced By Syngenta
March 18, 2015
The fungicide provides protection against late blight, downy mildews, and Phytophthora root and stem blights. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Registration In California
March 16, 2015
The product is now approved in California for use on a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNufarm Announces Two New Fungicide Registrations For Sp…
March 13, 2015
Both 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use on greenhouse vegetables and backyard fruit. Read More