Posts Tagged ‘ant control’

Giant Ant Colony is a World Wonder

May 24, 2011

Giant Ant Colony is a World Wonder.

http://embed.break.com/NjU1NDIw
Giant Ant Colony is a World Wonder – Watch more Funny Videos

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Fantastic Ants – Photo Gallery – National Geographic Magazine

April 27, 2011

Fantastic Ants – Photo Gallery – National Geographic Magazine

Ant & Termite Institute

March 24, 2011

BASF (The world’s leading chemical company) has recently launched a couple of very useful, informational websites for consumers. The Ant Institute is a site dedicated to relaying vital ant control information to home owners. The site features great tips on how to avoid an ant infestation, and also contains facts about colony behavior, and the biology of ants. Another cool aspect of the site is it has an ask the expert feature, which is always a useful resource. Remember, you can always ask us about your pest & termite control questions.

The other site BASF recently launched is The Termite Institute. The site has many similar aspects as the ant institute does except the focus is on termite inspection & control. The site provides homeowners with many answers to questions that people constantly have about these common invaders. You can find the answers to questions such as…

Can termites tunnel through cement?

Does homeowners’ insurance cover the cost of termite damage?

Can I treat my termite infestation myself?

You can also find a useful termite identification chart to help you identify this particularly annoying pest. Be sure to let us know what other pest and termite control resources you use when looking for a professional to protect your home and famil

New red imported fire ant enemies in place for combat

January 11, 2011

New red imported fire ant enemies in place for combat

By Sharon Durham

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are releasing the fifth species of phorid fly to control fire ant populations. Red imported fire ants first arrived in the United States in the early 1930s and have been expanding along the southern portion of the country ever since, resulting in medical, agricultural and environmental impacts that cost the U.S. public billions of dollars each year.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Sanford Porter and his colleagues at the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit in Gainesville, Fla., have collected, bred and released phorid flies that help to control fire ant populations in the southern part of the United States. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.

Scientists at CMAVE and cooperators in several states conducted the fire ant biocontrol program to suppress the stinging insects in large areas. Since the program began in 1995, five species of phorid flies have been released to parasitize various sizes of fire ants, from large to very small. According to Porter, the relationship between phorid fly and fire ant is very specific: The introduced phorid fly species only attack imported fire ant species.

The fifth phorid fly species, Pseudacteon cultellatus, is currently being released at several sites in Florida to control tiny fire ant workers that belong to multiple-queen colonies. These colonies are particularly problematic because they usually house two to three times the number of worker ants.

Of the four phorid fly species previously released, only one has failed to establish itself and widely spread out. P. litoralis, released in 2004 and 2005, was only able to establish itself in Alabama. The others—P. tricuspis, P. curvatus, and P. obtusus—have expanded well beyond their release sites and are attacking fire ants across large areas. P. tricuspis and P. curvatus each cover over half of the U.S. fire ant range, and that is expected to increase to well over two-thirds of the range by the end of 2011, according to Porter.

Read more about this research in the January 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online.

Florida Rasberry Crazy Ant Control

October 18, 2010

Latest Florida non-native invader: Rasberry Crazy Ants

By Barbara Hijek October 11, 2010 07:01 AM

We’ve got pythons, iguanas and boa constrictors.

We’ve got monitor lizards and even the brown anole.

And now…

It’s like something out of a bad 1950s-era horror movie: “The Attack of the Crazy Ants,” reports The Charlotte Sun.

ant_raspberry.jpg

Johnny Georges’ ranch in Arcadia has millions, maybe even billions, of ants crawling on the ground, in trees, on every plant and on every piece of machinery and equipment out here. The carcasses of dead ants are so numerous, they look like piles of brown sawdust or mulch, reports The Charlotte Sun.

“It’s like a plague, like something out of the Bible,” Georges told The Charlotte Sun.

His property has been covered with “Crazy Ants” for almost two years now. They are called “Crazy Ants” because, unlike most ants, these don’t appear to march in any orderly fashion. Rather, they stumble around willy-nilly, zigging here and zagging there — hence the name, reports The Charlotte Sun.

Johnny Georges’ ants were identified officially as Rasberry Crazy Ants, he told The Charlotte Sun. They’re named after exterminator Tom Rasberry, who is credited with their discovery when they started to invade the Lone Star State about eight years ago.

These ants do not nest in the ground or in large mounds; rather, they find convenient spots such as under tree bark, in crevices in barns and houses, or under flower pots. A University of Florida IFAS Extension bulletin reports that a colony may have as many as 40 queens, reports The Charlotte Sun.

The good news, if there is any, is that Rasberry Crazy Ants destroy fire ants.

The bad news is that “after experiencing the Rasberry Crazy Ant, most residents prefer the fire ant,” according to a Texas Parks and Wildlife brochure.

Georges said he has tried any number of pesticides, both over-the-counter as well as professionally applied. “Nothing kills them,” he told The Charlotte Sun. “I spray, and they’re right back here the next day.”

Florida Rasberry Crazy Ant Control

Imported Fire Ants on Lawn and Turf

May 13, 2010

BIOLOGY

Red imported fire ants live in colonies that contain cream-colored to white immature ants, often called brood. The brood is comprised of the eggs, larvae, and pupae. Also within the colonies are adult ants of different types, or castes. The castes include winged males, winged females (which are unmated queens), workers of varying size, and one or more mated queens. The winged males and females fly from nests, usually in the spring and early summer, to mate in flight. Upon landing, mated females will shed their wings after finding a suitable nesting site. All the males die after mating. While thousands of winged males and females can be produced per year in large colonies, they do not sting, and fewer than 10% of the females will survive to produce a colony. Newly-mated queens can fly as far as 12 miles from the nest (or even farther in the wind), but most land within a mile.

New colonies do not make conspicuous mounds for several months. Once a colony is established, a single queen can lay over 2,000 eggs per day. Depending on temperature, it can take 20 to 45 days for an egg to develop into an adult worker. Workers can live as long as 9 months at 75°F, but life spans usually are between 1 and 6 months under warmer outdoor conditions. Queens live an average of 6 to 7 years.

Fire ants are omnivorous feeders, feeding on carbohydrates (e.g. honeydew, plant exudates, sugars, syrups), proteins (e.g. insects, meats), and lipids (e.g. grease, lard, oils from seeds). Their food preferences change depending on the nutritional requirements of the colony. In the spring and summer, when food is abundant, the colony produces new offspring, and the protein needs of the colony increase. Adult ants require carbohydrates and/or lipids to sustain themselves throughout the year. Fire ants are only able to ingest liquids. Solid proteinaceous foods are liquified by placing them on a depression in front of the mouth of the oldest larvae (the fourth instar stage), which then regurgitate digestive enzymes onto the food. Once liquified, the fourth instar larvae suck up the protein and regurgitate it to the workers, which pass it on to the rest of the colony.

Workers will forage for food more than 100 feet from the nest. They can forage during both the day and the night, generally when air temperatures are between 70° and 90°F. When a large food source is found, fire ants recruit other workers to help take the food back to the colony. Liquids are ingested at the food source, and stored within the ants until they are regurgitated to other ants within the colony. Liquids from solid foods are extracted at the source, or are carried back as solid particles. Large solids may be cut into smaller pieces so they can be carried back to the colony.

There are two types of fire ant colonies:

  • single-queen, or monogyne, colonies, and
  • multiple-queen, or polygyne, colonies.

Single-queen colonies have only one egg-laying queen, and may contain as many as 100,000 to 240,000 workers. Multiple-queen colonies have many egg-laying queens (usually 20 to 60), with 100,000 to 500,000 workers. Single-queen colonies fight with other fire ant colonies. Because of this antagonistic behavior, colonies are farther apart, resulting in a maximum of 40 to 150 mounds per acre. Multiple-queen colonies generally do not fight with other multiple-queen colonies. Consequently, mounds are closer together, and can reach densities of 200 to 800 mounds per acre. Multiple-queen mounds may also be inconspicuous, often times being clusters of small, flattened excavations, in contrast to the distinct dome-shaped mounds of single-queen colonies. Workers from single-queen colonies vary in size, ranging in length from 1/8 to 1/4 in, and are usually reddish brown to black in color. Workers of multiple-queen colonies are generally smaller (1/8 to 3/16 in), have only a few large workers, and are lighter in color (orangish-brown) than single-queen colony workers.

The large colony sizes, and the presence of numerous queens makes multiple-queen colonies more difficult to eliminate than single-queen colonies. Since 1973, multiple-queen colonies have been found in eight of the 11 fire ant infested states, including Florida. Multiple-queen colonies produce fewer winged, or alate, queens that will start new colonies after a mating flight than single-queen colonies. However, multiple-queen colonies can establish new colonies by budding, where a portion of the queens and workers splits off from a colony.

The spread of fire ants into new areas depends on many factors, such as climate, surrounding fire ant populations, and the native predators and competitors in the areas. Areas with an abundance of natural enemies and competing ant species may hinder colony establishment because the enemies prey upon newly-mated queens and compete for resources. However, if an area is disturbed, for example, by clearing land for pastures or urban development, natural enemies or competitors may be adversely affected and fire ants may colonize the area more rapidly.

It may take as long as 11 years for single-queen fire ant colonies to become the dominant ant species in a new area which has been disturbed by urbanization, and has not been treated with insecticides to control ants. Multiple-queen colonies may become dominant in new areas at a slower rate because they spread more by budding than by establishing numerous new colonies scattered throughout an area after mating flights.

In areas where native ants and fire ant populations have been reduced or eliminated with insecticides, reinfestation by fire ants may be noticeable within a month after treatment. Fire ants reinfest these areas more rapidly and outcompete other ant species because of their tremendous reproductive capacity and faster colony development. If fire ant control is not maintained, the subsequent reinfestation of an area may result in even greater fire ant populations than existed before the application of insecticides.

CONTROL STRATEGIES AND TECHNIQUES

Imported fire ants have been the target of innumerable methods of control. Unfortunately, there are no control methods that will permanently eliminate fire ants from an area. Four strategies are currently being used to control fire ants:

  • broadcast bait applications,
  • individual mound treatments,
  • a combination of broadcast baiting and individual mound treatments, and,
  • barrier and spot treatments.

Information courtesy http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh059