Fire Ant Management Program
Posted on Aug 16th, 2014
Thirty people attended the final environmental program in a series of six hosted by the FOR Environmental Committee. The "Management Strategies for Fire ants and Tawny Crazy Ants" was held on Saturday, August 9th at the FOR Community Center.
Paul Nester "Dr. Fire Ant", Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University System spoke for about two hours and stayed to answer individual’s questions.
He spoke about the “Texas two-step” treatment for fire ants as he did last time - baiting for fire ants in the spring (after tax time and before the 4th of July) and in the fall (after Labor Day and before November) and using mound treatments to treat nuisance mounds. He stressed that treating the mound does not eradicate the problem.
He also talked about the Tawny Ant (Rasberry crazy ant). There is good news and bad news about them. Good news, if you have tawny ants, you don’t have fire ants as fire ants don’t have a defense against tawny ants. Bad news, if you have tawny ants, they are a big problem. They are omnivores and they thrive in humid, wet conditions.
The Tawny ant name comes from its scientific name, Nylandia fulva, which was given in 2012 after the origin of the ant was determined to be South America. The first reports in Texas were made by Tom Rasberry, an exterminator, who found them in the Houston Ship Channel area in 2002.
Dr. Nester recommended removing the places they like to nest, eliminating food sources, and carefully inspecting anything that you plan to place in your area. Crazy ants are often transferred to properties in plants, mulch, etc. brought from garden supply stores. He also recommended hiring an experienced professional pest control person with the appropriate licenses to apply regulated pest control substances.
There are websites for more information: http://fireant.tamu.edu/controlmethods/index.php and www.extension.org/fire+ants and http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu (this website has two drop down boxes to choose the pest category and the type.)
After the program, several people asked if FOR was going to do more of this type program. Barbara Fratila, Environmental Chairman, said yes FOR would be planning more programs next year.