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
downy mildew symptoms on basil
Disease ControlRed Lights Slow Down Growth Of Downy Mildew On Basil
July 22, 2015
University of Florida scientists say the technology may help growers manage the disease and reduce chemical inputs. Read More
Bacterial wilt of curcurbits
CucurbitsWin The War Against Bacterial Wilt Of Cucurbits
July 22, 2015
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods of this vegetable disease. Read More
Crop ProtectionRegional Integrated Pest Management Grants Reduced Pest Risks In The West
July 22, 2015
The program created tools and training information designed for Western growers. Read More
Disease ControlStone Fruit Rots Rampant In East
July 21, 2015
The incidents of fruit rots in both sweet and tart cherries and peaches and nectarines are quite high in Pennsylvania Read More
UF/IFAS scientists Edward Evans and Jonathan Crane study diseased avocados in a South Florida grove.
Disease ControlDeadly Disease Cutting Down Florida Avocado Trees Likely To Push Up Prices
July 17, 2015
The economic impacts of laurel wilt disease management costly for domestic producers. Read More
Sweet CornDow AgroSciences Reveals Name Of New Residual Corn Herbicide
July 15, 2015
Dow AgroSciences announced July 14 that its new corn herbicide, previously referred to as GF-3471, will be named Resicore™ herbicide. Read More
Crop ProtectionClue Into Chemigation Best Practices
July 15, 2015
Monitoring performance and quick repairs are critical to successful applications. Read More
The Latest
Bill Stoneman
Crop ProtectionFormer BPIA Head Relishes Challenge Of New Consulting R…
July 28, 2015
JET Harvest Solutions taps Bill Stoneman for his bounty of biocontrol experience. Read More
Crop ProtectionRegional Integrated Pest Management Grants Reduced Pest…
July 22, 2015
The program created tools and training information designed for Western growers. Read More
Crop ProtectionClue Into Chemigation Best Practices
July 15, 2015
Monitoring performance and quick repairs are critical to successful applications. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Egg Cage System Could Increase Ladybug’s Bioc…
July 13, 2015
A specialized insect cage system developed by USDA scientists could improve the prospects of mass rearing the pink spotted lady Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Call For Nominations For “SOAR” Award
July 10, 2015
The IR-4 Project, a resource that supplies pest management tools for specialty crop growers by developing research data to support Read More
Crop ProtectionEarly Blight And Septoria Leaf Spot Rampant On Pennsylv…
July 8, 2015
According to a news release from Penn State University, early blight and Septoria leaf spot are present in Pennsylvania tomato Read More
Crop ProtectionDowny Mildew Reported In Ohio Cucumber Fields
July 8, 2015
According to a disease update from Ohio State University Extension, downy mildew was reported in cucumbers on farms in West Read More
Crop ProtectionZeal SC Miticide Now Registered With Liquid Formulation
June 26, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced that Zeal SC Miticide has been registered by the EPA with a new liquid formulation that Read More
Crop ProtectionStay A Step Ahead Of Weeds
June 26, 2015
Weed control can be a tricky and costly task made all the more difficult by herbicide resistance and the push Read More
money down the drain
CitrusGovernor’s Budget Veto Likely To Shutter UF/IFAS …
June 25, 2015
A $180,000 increase, plus another $720,000 in funding for program gone in the stroke of a pen. Read More
Crop ProtectionDowny Mildew Makes Early Appearance In Michigan Cucumbe…
June 23, 2015
An alert sent by Michigan State University (MSU) Extension confirms the presence of downy mildew on cucumber leaves in Michigan. Read More
BerriesCaptan Gold 4L Fungicide Now Registered In California
June 16, 2015
ADAMA has received EPA approval for Captan Gold 4L liquid fungicide for use on strawberries, tree fruits, and other specialty Read More
infrared image showing the difference between using crop termination fumigation in the field and not
Crop ProtectionMaximizing Nematode Management In Vegetables
June 12, 2015
Crop termination is the foundation of mitigating the soil pests for the following season. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Chart Helps Growers Choose The Best Cover Crop
June 9, 2015
USDA scientists have developed a Cover Crop Chart that helps growers determine the best cover crop to meet their management Read More
Bagrada bug
Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug Has The Potential To Spread Throughout The …
June 9, 2015
The bagrada bug has moved into South Texas and has the potential to move to other areas of the U.S., Read More
Guava Fruit Fly specimen
CitrusLos Angeles County Under Quarantine Following Guava Fru…
June 9, 2015
A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the guava fruit fly (GFF) following the detection Read More
CitrusNealta Miticide Receives Registration In California
June 2, 2015
Nealta miticide from BASF has received registration for use in California. Nealta delivers long-lasting control of spider mites at all Read More
Crop ProtectionSmall Parasite May Contribute To Declines In Honey Bee …
June 2, 2015
A single-celled parasite may be infecting bee larvae. Read More