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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Their name is comical, but when crazy ants infest a neighborhood it’s no laughing matter.
The fast-moving, invasive insects are present in Florida and several other Gulf Coast states. They 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 and pest-control operators.
So far, efforts to control crazy ants have involved a patchwork of approaches, many of which failed. But a team of University of Florida researchers is developing an integrated pest management system tailored to the species’ unique characteristics and habits.
This week at the Entomological Society of America annual meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., two of those researchers presented findings on 15 insecticidal baits evaluated for the system.
Though none of the products were developed specifically for crazy ants, the researchers found that two granular baits – Amdro Pro and Maxforce Complete – 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’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.