Fire Ants and Crazy Ants!

       Dr. Paul R. Nester
     Program Specialist - IPM
 Texas AgriLife Extension Service
     ...
“Tramp” ant


Tramp species have the following common features that
enable them to be highly successful invaders:
•   Able...
“Tramp” ants

•Examples include:
  •Fire Ant
  •Rasberry Crazy Ant
  •Argentine Ant
  •Rover Ant
  •Big Headed Ant
  •Pave...
Aaa




Basic Ant Anatomy
Aaa




Red Imported Fire Ant
Lateral View
                    Basic Ant Anatomy
             Head        Thorax                    Abdomen

           ...
Basic Ant Anatomy
Head

                                        Funiculus

    Eye                  Scape




            ...
Basic Ant Anatomy
           Petiole/postpeliole

One node                         Two nodes
Aaa




Rasberry Crazy Ant
Rasberry Crazy Ant
                                     Nylanderia sp. nr. pubens


                                      ...
Rasberry Crazy Ant
                     Nylanderia sp. nr. pubens




J. Meyers- TAMU
Aaa




Similar Genera, Species
Black Crazy Ant
                    Paratrechina longicornis
                                                   Difference...
Argentine Ant
                               Linepithema humile            Differences from RCA

                         ...
Pyramid Ant
                         Dorymyrmex flavus
                                             Differences from RCA
 ...
0.5 mm




                    P. longicornis
N. sp. nr. pubens




  L. humile                   D. flavus
T. sessile

      N. sp. nr. pubens   P. longicornis




             L. humile      D. flavus
Cover Box


Red Imported Fire Ant Biology
Fire Ant Mating Flight



                          Queen Ant Laying Eggs:
                               Oviposition




...
Argentine Ant Life Cycle
Cover Box

Red Imported Fire Ant

  Mound Dynamics
Floating Colonies
Cover Box

Impact of Fire Ants
Biting and Stinging
Ants in Electrical
  Equipment
Fire Ants Predation and the
      effect on Wildlife
Impact of Fire Ants on our
            Quality of Life!
Integrated Pest Management

• IPM - a strategy that
  – focuses on long-term suppression of
    pests
  – uses a combinati...
Definition of IPM

• Integrated Pest Management:
  Management of pest populations using
  systems of complimenting control...
Integrated Pest management

  – Focuses on long-term
    suppression of pests
  – Proactive rather than reactive
  – Uses ...
Early Use of IPM
                     • 1888: First highly
                       successful classical
                   ...
Knowledge is the key
• Knowing the pests’
  biology and habits
  help in the selection
  of control practices
Proper Identification
          • Different pests have
            different control
            strategies
          • Im...
Control Tactics

• Determine control strategies to be
  used- Some examples:
    • Cultural/Sanitation: eliminating water ...
The IPM pyramid
                     Pesticides

 Physical /
Mechanical               Biological
  controls               ...
Control Approaches

• Individual Mound Treatments
 (Granules, Drenches, Dusts, Baits, Organics)

• Use contact insecticide...
Individual Mound Treatments
 (Granules, Drenches, Dusts, Baits, Organics)
Application of contact insecticide
(fast acting)
Two-Step Method
- Least toxic, cost-effective method
- Most suitable for larger, fully-infested areas
- Reduces surface ru...
Long Residual
(fipronil, e.g., Over ‘n Out, Top Choice)
Determining Fire Ant Mound Densities

                  Choose areas to be surveyed
            r
                  Usuall...
Available Baits
Active ingredient   Product name
hydramethylnon      Amdro Pro, Probait, Amdro, MaxForce
methoprene       ...
Available Baits
Tips for Applying Fire Ant Bait
                 Insecticides
• BAIT MUST BE FRESH!
  (Pleasant corn-like
  odor, NOT sour...
Bait
Applicators
Home Remedies
Product                 Effect, If Any

Gasoline/Diesel         NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
Home Cleaning Agents    ...
Paratrechina nr pubens,
 “Rasberry Crazy Ant”




Worker


               Queen and brood
Colony

• Multiple queen (polygyne)
• Many nests (polydomas)
• Nests under any object
• Foraging trails plentiful in summe...
Argentine Ant vs
Rasberry Crazy Ant

      Workers




      Queen and
       workers
Paratrechina activity


                  Under leaf debris




Running on curb
Paratrechina “intensity”
Aaaaaaaa
        So, where are they now?
• Rasberry crazy ants have been found in localized spot
  infestations in southea...
2008




       Key
         2002
         2005
         2006
         2007
Montgomery Elementary School

20774 Eva Street
Montgomery, TX 77356




            Eva Street         (Hwy 105)
         ...
Aaaaaaaa
              Movement?
• RCA has the potential to spread well
  beyond its current range in coastal Texas,
  to ...
Aaaaaaaa
              Movement?

• These ants can be transported through
  movement of almost any infested
  container or...
Aaaaaaaa
                  Concerns
• Foraging ants cover the ground and readily
  enter structures. Are a nuisance and ma...
Aaaaaaaa
                Concerns
• Due to the small size of these ants, and
  their abilities to forage within structures...
Aaaaaaaa
General Aesthetics
Aaaaaaaa
Structures
Aaaaaaaa
Industry
Aaaaaaaa
Landscapes
Aaaaaaaa
           What can you do?
• The best practice to prevent a Rasberry crazy ant
  infestation is by being “ant-aw...
Aaaaaaaa
           What can you do?

• If Rasberry crazy ants are detected, practice good
  sanitization techniques by re...
Aaaaaaaa
             What can be done?
• Use Termidor insecticide as a barrier treatment on and
  near houses. This produ...
Aaaaaaaa
Aaaaaaaa
     Termidor® SC Treatment
           Crisis Exemption Label

• 3 ft. up
• 10 ft. out
Aaaaaaaa
Coverage Challenges
Coverage Challenges
Phantom® Barrier Treatment

• Baseboards, cracks and crevices
Aaaaaaaa
http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu/ants/exotic_tx.cfm
http://fireant.tamu.edu
http://fireant.tamu.edu
http://www.extension.org
Aaaaaaaa
This information was developed on behalf of the Crazy
  Ant Task Force members from these agencies and
          ...
Questions ????




         p-nester@tamu.edu
         281-855-5639
Approximate location of Rasberry crazy ant
              August 2008
Fire Ants & Crazy Ants Presentation
Fire Ants & Crazy Ants Presentation
Fire Ants & Crazy Ants Presentation
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Fire Ants & Crazy Ants Presentation

  1. 1. Fire Ants and Crazy Ants! Dr. Paul R. Nester Program Specialist - IPM Texas AgriLife Extension Service Texas A&M System Houston/Metro Area
  2. 2. “Tramp” ant Tramp species have the following common features that enable them to be highly successful invaders: • Able to hitchhike with human travel and establish colonies in new regions all over the globe • Are omnivores--they will eat almost anything • Not aggressive to same species from different nests. • Aggressive to other ant species • Colonies with many queens, and many nests • Will nest under or in anything • Disperse by budding (queens and a group of workers separate from the colony and walk to a new site).
  3. 3. “Tramp” ants •Examples include: •Fire Ant •Rasberry Crazy Ant •Argentine Ant •Rover Ant •Big Headed Ant •Pavement Ant
  4. 4. Aaa Basic Ant Anatomy
  5. 5. Aaa Red Imported Fire Ant
  6. 6. Lateral View Basic Ant Anatomy Head Thorax Abdomen Setae Antenna Coxa Petiole Femur Clypeus Postpetiole Mandibule Tibia Tarsum Acidopore antweb.org
  7. 7. Basic Ant Anatomy Head Funiculus Eye Scape Club Antenna Clypeus Frontal Mandibule antweb.org lobe
  8. 8. Basic Ant Anatomy Petiole/postpeliole One node Two nodes
  9. 9. Aaa Rasberry Crazy Ant
  10. 10. Rasberry Crazy Ant Nylanderia sp. nr. pubens Look for Standing macrosetae 1)One node 2)Macrosetae 3)Acidopore One node 4)Scape 5)Femur 6)Reddish Long to brown scape 7)~2-3 mm Long Femur Acidopore: circle of hairs at tip of 0.5 mm abdomen J. Johnson - TAMU
  11. 11. Rasberry Crazy Ant Nylanderia sp. nr. pubens J. Meyers- TAMU
  12. 12. Aaa Similar Genera, Species
  13. 13. Black Crazy Ant Paratrechina longicornis Differences from RCA Long scape 1)Long scape Long thorax, flattened 2)Long thorax 3)Long femur 4)Black, dark brown 5)Eyes bigger 6)~2-3 mm Big eyes Long scape antweb.org
  14. 14. Argentine Ant Linepithema humile Differences from RCA 1)Reduced # setae Abdomen “narrow” like 2)Deep “depression” between 1-2 pair of legs 3)Abdomen “arrow” shape 4)Dark brown 5)Thinner (body, legs) 6)~3 mm Pronotum 7)Head “triangular” “depression” antweb.org antweb.org
  15. 15. Pyramid Ant Dorymyrmex flavus Differences from RCA Spine-like 1)Spine-like in propodeum 2)Reduced # setae 3)“Mustache” on clypeus 4)Long palps 5)Orange 6)~2 mm 7)Head “squared” Palps “Mustache”
  16. 16. 0.5 mm P. longicornis N. sp. nr. pubens L. humile D. flavus
  17. 17. T. sessile N. sp. nr. pubens P. longicornis L. humile D. flavus
  18. 18. Cover Box Red Imported Fire Ant Biology
  19. 19. Fire Ant Mating Flight Queen Ant Laying Eggs: Oviposition Worker Ant Tending Larvae
  20. 20. Argentine Ant Life Cycle
  21. 21. Cover Box Red Imported Fire Ant Mound Dynamics
  22. 22. Floating Colonies
  23. 23. Cover Box Impact of Fire Ants
  24. 24. Biting and Stinging
  25. 25. Ants in Electrical Equipment
  26. 26. Fire Ants Predation and the effect on Wildlife
  27. 27. Impact of Fire Ants on our Quality of Life!
  28. 28. Integrated Pest Management • IPM - a strategy that – focuses on long-term suppression of pests – uses a combination of control tactics – minimizes pesticides’ negative impact on people and the environment – strives to be economical
  29. 29. Definition of IPM • Integrated Pest Management: Management of pest populations using systems of complimenting control strategies that maintain pest populations at levels that can be tolerated by humans in terms of their economy, health, and/or quality of life
  30. 30. Integrated Pest management – Focuses on long-term suppression of pests – Proactive rather than reactive – Uses a combination of control tactics – Minimizes pesticides’ negative impact on people and the environment – Strives to be economical
  31. 31. Early Use of IPM • 1888: First highly successful classical biological control program: importation of vedalia beetle to control cottony- cushion scale in citrus Photo by UC Davis.
  32. 32. Knowledge is the key • Knowing the pests’ biology and habits help in the selection of control practices
  33. 33. Proper Identification • Different pests have different control strategies • Important to properly identify by : – Collect sample of damaged item or droppings – Take a digital image of the pest, damage or droppings
  34. 34. Control Tactics • Determine control strategies to be used- Some examples: • Cultural/Sanitation: eliminating water sources and pest habitats, bed preparation, crop rotation • Mechanical/Physical: trapping, removal of infested branches, hand picking • Biological: introduce natural enemies • Chemical: use of pesticides
  35. 35. The IPM pyramid Pesticides Physical / Mechanical Biological controls controls Cultural / Sanitation Practices
  36. 36. Control Approaches • Individual Mound Treatments (Granules, Drenches, Dusts, Baits, Organics) • Use contact insecticides (synthetic pyrethroids, acephate, carbaryl, spinosad) • 2-Step Method (Annually/semi-annually treat yard with bait, then treat nuisance mounds with spot treatment) • Use long residual insecticides (fipronil, i.e., Over ‘n Out, Top Choice)
  37. 37. Individual Mound Treatments (Granules, Drenches, Dusts, Baits, Organics)
  38. 38. Application of contact insecticide (fast acting)
  39. 39. Two-Step Method - Least toxic, cost-effective method - Most suitable for larger, fully-infested areas - Reduces surface runoff water contamination  Step 1: Relies on  Step 2: Uses mound periodic broadcast treatments to treat application of fire ant “nuisance” ant mounds, bait product(s) only
  40. 40. Long Residual (fipronil, e.g., Over ‘n Out, Top Choice)
  41. 41. Determining Fire Ant Mound Densities Choose areas to be surveyed r Usually 4 areas will do 59 ft Count active mounds within the 4, Area = πr2 ¼ acre circles Total will be the # mounds/acre ¼ acre circle Usually greater than 20 mounds per acre or 4-5 mounds/residential lawn needs treatment. Broadcast fire ant bait recommended for > 20 fire ant mounds This may vary depending upon specific needs of landowner
  42. 42. Available Baits Active ingredient Product name hydramethylnon Amdro Pro, Probait, Amdro, MaxForce methoprene Extinguish pyriproxyfen Esteem, Distance hydramethylnon Extinguish Plus, Amdro Firestrike + methoprene fenoxycarb Award indoxacarb Advion, Spectracide (Once & Done) spinosad Ortho, Green Light, Safer, Ferti-lome abamectin Clinch, Varsity, Ascend fipronil MaxForce FC
  43. 43. Available Baits
  44. 44. Tips for Applying Fire Ant Bait Insecticides • BAIT MUST BE FRESH! (Pleasant corn-like odor, NOT sour) • Temperature must be between 70ºF and 95ºF. • Grass must be dry (Soil can be moist) • No rain expected for 8 hours after application of bait • Do Not mix bait with fertilizer • Do Not use push-type spreaders
  45. 45. Bait Applicators
  46. 46. Home Remedies Product Effect, If Any Gasoline/Diesel NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! Home Cleaning Agents NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! Grits, Sugar, Baking Moves the Mound/Not Soda, Flour, etc... deadly to ants Orange Peels Same as above Citrus Oil 60% Kill Rate in tests Mistletoe Berries Joy, Peace, Goodwill Toward ants ????? Other’s
  47. 47. Paratrechina nr pubens, “Rasberry Crazy Ant” Worker Queen and brood
  48. 48. Colony • Multiple queen (polygyne) • Many nests (polydomas) • Nests under any object • Foraging trails plentiful in summer during cooler part of day • Foraging indoors • Displaces other ant species(?)
  49. 49. Argentine Ant vs Rasberry Crazy Ant Workers Queen and workers
  50. 50. Paratrechina activity Under leaf debris Running on curb
  51. 51. Paratrechina “intensity”
  52. 52. Aaaaaaaa So, where are they now? • Rasberry crazy ants have been found in localized spot infestations in southeast Houston (Harris County), including Houston, Pasadena, Deer Park, Friendswood, San Jacinto Port, Pearland, Seabrook, La Porte, East Columbia and Montgomery. • As of September 2009, localized infestations have also been confirmed in areas of Bexar, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange, Walker and Wharton counties. New infestations are suspected beyond these areas.
  53. 53. 2008 Key 2002 2005 2006 2007
  54. 54. Montgomery Elementary School 20774 Eva Street Montgomery, TX 77356 Eva Street (Hwy 105) To Conroe, TX
  55. 55. Aaaaaaaa Movement? • RCA has the potential to spread well beyond its current range in coastal Texas, to possibly include the southern half of Texas and the southeastern U. S. • RCA is a semi-tropical ant and high populations may be limited by cooler weather conditions.
  56. 56. Aaaaaaaa Movement? • These ants can be transported through movement of almost any infested container or material. • The movement of garbage, yard debris, bags or loads of compost, potted plants or bales of hay by car, truck, railroad or airplane can transport ant colonies and result in new areas of infestation.
  57. 57. Aaaaaaaa Concerns • Foraging ants cover the ground and readily enter structures. Are a nuisance and may affect home values in infested neighborhoods. • RCA have an affinity for electrical units and will disable almost any electrical system by interfering with switches and circuits including traffic signal boxes, computers and air conditioners, leading to high repair costs and disruption of electrical services.
  58. 58. Aaaaaaaa Concerns • Due to the small size of these ants, and their abilities to forage within structures, they may have potential importance in medical facilities as carriers of pathogens between patients the same way the Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) does.
  59. 59. Aaaaaaaa General Aesthetics
  60. 60. Aaaaaaaa Structures
  61. 61. Aaaaaaaa Industry
  62. 62. Aaaaaaaa Landscapes
  63. 63. Aaaaaaaa What can you do? • The best practice to prevent a Rasberry crazy ant infestation is by being “ant-aware.” • Report suspicious ant problems, and have the ants identified by a specialist. • Avoid bringing ant-infested articles onto your property. Carefully inspect new plant materials, mulch or soil brought onto you property.
  64. 64. Aaaaaaaa What can you do? • If Rasberry crazy ants are detected, practice good sanitization techniques by removing potential nesting sites, such as piles of debris (mulch, wood etc.) from around buildings, or stacks of debris from the property. • Reduce aphid and honey dew forming insects on vegetation next to the structure, as the ants are attracted to this sugar source.
  65. 65. Aaaaaaaa What can be done? • Use Termidor insecticide as a barrier treatment on and near houses. This product is effective for several weeks if applied. Phantom insecticide may be used indoors. • Advance Carpenter Ant bait manufactured by Whitmire is the bait preferred by RCA. It can be applied out of doors around the house. Should be applied early in season (more data needed). The number of applications and exact rate is still being researched?
  66. 66. Aaaaaaaa
  67. 67. Aaaaaaaa Termidor® SC Treatment Crisis Exemption Label • 3 ft. up • 10 ft. out
  68. 68. Aaaaaaaa Coverage Challenges
  69. 69. Coverage Challenges
  70. 70. Phantom® Barrier Treatment • Baseboards, cracks and crevices
  71. 71. Aaaaaaaa http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu/ants/exotic_tx.cfm
  72. 72. http://fireant.tamu.edu
  73. 73. http://fireant.tamu.edu
  74. 74. http://www.extension.org
  75. 75. Aaaaaaaa This information was developed on behalf of the Crazy Ant Task Force members from these agencies and organizations: • Texas A&M University Department of Entomology, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and Research • United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, and Agricultural Research Service • Texas Department of Agriculture • Texas Department of Transportation • Texas Parks and Wildlife • U.S. Fish and Wildlife • Texas Nursery and Landscape Association • Budget Pest Control
  76. 76. Questions ???? p-nester@tamu.edu 281-855-5639
  77. 77. Approximate location of Rasberry crazy ant August 2008
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