Don’t let fire ants ruin your summer, take steps this spring

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

Dealing with fire ants is no picnic, but getting rid of them can be as easy as Step 1, Step 2, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

Dr. Allen Knutson, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Dallas, said spring is a good time to control fire ants as this is when they search for food and build mounds, which makes them easier to locate.  Continue reading

Trying to tame fire ants? Consider whether you want to eliminate the mounds or the ants

By Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Fire ant research is not a hot topic in the scientific community because effective control products are available, but fire ants can kill people, so management of this pest remains an ongoing issue, according to Will Hudson, University of Georgia entomology professor.

“It’s a measure of the state of entomology. We used to have a fair amount of fire ant research going on in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said Hudson, who has studied the control of turf insects for the past 30 years. “But fire ants are still important because other ants aren’t going to kill you. If you are allergic and you get stung by a whole lot of fire ants, you could die.” Continue reading

Two scientific advisory panels for Environmental Protection Agency

1) EPA Accepting Public Comments on Nominees for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP)

On January 26, 2018, EPA published a Federal Register notice (FRN) providing the names addresses, and professional affiliations of recent nominees by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation for service on the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel established under section 25(d) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Brief biographical sketches for the nominees are posted to the EPA website at www.epa.gov/sap. The Agency, at this time, anticipates selecting four of these individuals for new members to serve on the panel as a result of membership terms that will expire in 2018.

Public comments on the nominees are invited on or before February 26, 2018.  These comments will be used to assist the Agency in selecting the new members.  Comments may be submitted to docket  EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0602 in www.regulations.gov. For additional information, please see the FRN or contact Tamue L. Gibson, M.S., Designated Federal Official, Office of Science Coordination and Policy, Environmental Protection Agency (202-564-7642 or gibson.tamue@epa.gov). Continue reading

USDA ARS seeks stakeholder input on priorities

The mission of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Veterinary, Medical, and Urban Entomology National Program 104 (NP 104) is to improve the protection of humans and livestock from blood-sucking arthropods, and from stinging, or otherwise damaging insects. NP 104 research is divided into three components: (1) Medical entomology for the public and military; (2) Veterinary entomology; and (3) Fire ants and other invasive ant pests. The ultimate goal is to protect humans and livestock from these arthropod pests, through the development of safe and effective methods of management and control.

We are interested in obtaining stakeholder input on research, education and extension priorities to be addressed in our program over the next five years.  The first step in this process is collecting vital information and expert opinions from you, our stakeholders, customers and partners, on how Federal investments can best address current needs and challenges. This information will be incorporated into the next ARS National Program 104 Action Plan.  Continue reading

Floating fire ants, insect pests among flood hazards

by Gabriel Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Fire ants, as their colonies begin to flood, can join feet or tarsi to form water rafts, and they are more aggressive once in the floating formation, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists. But other insect pests can also pose human threats in flood conditions, they said.

Dr. Paul Nester, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Houston, and Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist, Dallas, encourage those affected by flooding to stay prepared and aware of pests, especially when it comes to mosquitoes, floating fire ant colonies and bedbugs. Continue reading

Insect threats after a flood

In Insects in the City

Many in our pest control industry find themselves in the midst of the devastating floods hitting much of south and east Texas this week.  If so, it may be a good time to remind ourselves of some unique pest challenges associated with high water.

Flooding brings all sorts of wildlife into unusually close contact with people, but few critters are more dangerous than fire ants. When floods occur, fire ants exit the ground and float, instinctively linking their legs and forming a floating mat which is nearly impossible to sink. When they inevitably bump into a dry object like a tree, a boat or a person, the ant mass “explodes” with ants quickly exiting the mass and swarming the object. Continue reading

Floating fire ant nests are common in floodwaters

In the Houstonia

by Katharine Shilcutt

THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS not to wade through flood waters unless absolutely necessary for a life-threatening emergency situation. Those reasons include:

  • Not being able to see dangerous debris under the water
  • Getting sacked by a floating manhole cover
  • Not realizing how strong the current is
  • Encountering rogue wildlife like alligators and snakes
  • Realizing you’re also wading in raw sewage
  • Floating fire ant mounds

Wait, whatContinue reading

Fire Ant Control: The Two-Step Method and Other Approaches

by Janet Hurley, Texas A&M AgriLife

When it comes to insect pests, fire ants would probably top everyone’s list! Red and black imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri) are invasive species and their painful bites can injure or kill livestock, wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Their large mounds (as many as 300 per acre) are unsightly and often damage mowers and other equipment. Fire ants also infest buildings and can damage electrical equipment by chewing on wire insulation.

Fire ants cost Americans $6 billion a year, including the cost of insecticides. The Two-Step Method and other approaches described here can lower that cost while reducing environmental damage and improving fire ant control. Knowing your options will allow you to make better choices to protect your family, pets, and property. Continue reading

2017 Annual Imported Fire Ant and Other Invasive Ants Conference

We are pleased to invite you to the 2017 Annual Imported Fire Ant and Other Invasive Ants Conference in Mobile, AL May 16-18, 2017.  The conference will be held at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel, 64 South Water Street, Mobile, AL 36602.

Registration is now open.  Early registration fees are $200 per person until 4:45 pm Central Time, April 14, 2017.  After that date, registration fees will be $250 per person.  Registration fees for graduate students and guests are $100 per person.  Registration will include an evening reception Tuesday, May 16, Continental Breakfast Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday, May 18, and lunch on Wednesday, May 17. Continue reading

Upcoming IPM webinars

The following webinars are being sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System:

  • February 5- November 4: “All Bugs Good and Bad” Webinar series.
    • The next webinar will be on May 6, @ 2:00 PM. Topic: “Managing Pests of Backyard Pecans”.
  • February 29-November 28: Commercial Horticulture Webinar Series.
    • The next webinar will be on April 25 @ 9:00 AM. Topics: “Leaf Tissue Analysis”, and “Fire Ant Management in Fruits and Vegetables”.
  • January-December: Alabama Crops Monthly Webinars.
    • The next webinar will be on April 12. Topics: “Weed control in peanuts”, “Auxin herbicide resistant crop update & Management of off-target injury”, “Do I have adequate stands: cotton”, “Corn insects”, “Soybeans”, & “Cotton/soybean/peanut early season thrips/insect control”.