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
Biocontrols USA 2016 logo
Crop Protection
February 5, 2016
Register Now For Biocontrols Conference 2016 Field And Greenhouse Tour
Space is limited, so register now to attend the first-ever Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference Field and Greenhouse Tour. Following the Read More
money
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Syngenta OKs Buyout By ChemChina
Deal valued at more than $43 billion; Syngenta management team to stay intact. Read More
White rust of crucifers
Disease Control
January 21, 2016
Beware The Warning Signs For White Rust Of Spinach
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Weeds in strawberry for web
Apples & Pears
January 20, 2016
Herbicide Flood Irrigation Application Approved for California Orchards And Vineyards
Crops include stone fruit, pome fruit, grapes, tree nuts, and olives. Read More
Extreme closeup of invasive wood-boring insect Xyleborus volvulus
Citrus
January 20, 2016
Agriculture Agents Intercept Invasive Beetle At Miami’s Seaport
Notorious wood borer hitched a ride in a container of cucumbers arriving from Costa Rica. Read More
baskets of produce
Citrus
January 20, 2016
USDA Report: Pesticide Residues Not A Food Safety Concern
Following monthly samplings, survey finds more than 99% of products sampled fall below EPA tolerances for pesticide residues. Read More
Fertilizer bander in a Florida potato field
Citrus
January 18, 2016
Farming Fertility Practices Evolving With Environment In Mind
Improving water quality while maintaining production is being achieved in American agriculture. Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
February 9, 2016
Biopesticides And IPM
Dr. Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, has long Read More
Crop Protection
February 8, 2016
7 Steps To See If Biocontrols Pencil Out…
Have you considered adding biocontrols to your operation? If you have, there’s no doubt you’ve already weighed the potential costs, Read More
Berries
February 5, 2016
Moving Beyond Methyl Bromide With Biofun…
Editor’s note: University of California Farm Advisor Mark Bolda will present much more information on this topic at the Biocontrols Read More
Crop Protection
February 5, 2016
Register Now For Biocontrols Conference …
Space is limited, so register now to attend the first-ever Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference Field and Greenhouse Tour. Following the Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Syngenta OKs Buyout By ChemChina
Deal valued at more than $43 billion; Syngenta management team to stay intact. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2016
USDA Report: Pesticide Residues Not A Fo…
Following monthly samplings, survey finds more than 99% of products sampled fall below EPA tolerances for pesticide residues. Read More
Berries
January 3, 2016
Get A Grip On Weeds In Strawberries
Control techniques include properly timed herbicide applications and crop rotation. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 28, 2015
FruitGrowerConnect Solves Growers’ Probl…
More than 35 grower and supplier operations gathered at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego in November for Read More
Citrus
December 11, 2015
DuPont, Dow Intend To Merge
Venture worth $130 billion and the two chemical companies plan to spin into three independent, publicly traded companies with agriculture among the three. Read More
Crop Protection
December 3, 2015
Take Lettuce Pests Head On
Tips for you to manage key lettuce pests in the Southwest. Read More
Crop Protection
December 2, 2015
The Battle Against Downy Mildew In Spina…
With an increasing number of races, the need for resistant varieties and control measures takes center stage in spinach production. Read More
Crop Protection
November 16, 2015
New Biopesticide Helicovex Receives U.S.…
Product from Andermatt Biocontrol Ag controls several pests including corn earworm. Read More
Crop Protection
November 10, 2015
Management Tactics To Control Cucurbit Y…
This virus, which was discovered in 2006, is transmitted by whiteflies and infects several melon types in Arizona and California. Read More
Citrus
November 3, 2015
Bee Scientist Says He Was Punished For N…
Minnesota National Public Radio recently reported on a whistleblower complaint filed by USDA entomologist of USDA’s Brookings, S.D., Agriculture Research Read More
Citrus
November 3, 2015
EPA Proposes To Ban Chlorpyrifos
EPA is seeking comments on a recently released proposal to reject tolerances of chlorpyrifos in response to a court-ordered deadline. Read More
Crop Protection
October 28, 2015
Weather Changes Alter Pest Populations, …
The weather trends in the West are driving the biology in commercial agricultural fields, and plant diseases have been influenced by these weather developments. Read More
Citrus
October 19, 2015
Florida Growers Feeling Bugged To Death …
Invasive pest problems continue to pile onto what’s an already challenging job. Read More
Crop Protection
October 15, 2015
EPA Registers New Bionematicide
Marrone Bio Innovations product provides new mode of action, keeping insect eggs from hatching. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]