With recent rains subsiding in many parts of the state and the re-emergence of warmer, drier weather, Texans should expect to see a proliferation of fire ants and mosquitoes, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists.
According to Dr. Robert Puckett, AgriLife Extension entomologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, the typical ant colony has one or more egg-laying queens, along with worker ants and a number of winged reproductive males and females.
“We recommend that in the fall homeowners make a broadcast application of granular fire ant bait if their fire ant mound densities warrant it,” he explained. “This wider application will allow greater coverage and serve to reduce the ant load once spring comes around. If any of the mounds reemerge in the spring, then we suggest direct treatment by a contact insecticide or granular baits.”
“Rain can be a further complicating factor in applying the granular bait,” he noted. “We recommend you find a time when at least 72 hours of dry weather are expected after application. Water will dilute the bait and contribute to ‘bait failure’ or a lesser ability of the bait to kill the ant. Also, the bait will absorb the water and make it less palatable to your ants.”
If dealing with fire ants isn’t enough, Texans will also see a significant increase in mosquito activity, according to Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Stephenville.
Swiger said as conditions dry, Texans can expect to see more “container breeder” species such as the Aedes mosquitoes, which have a much greater potential for spreading disease.
Mosquito dunks, which contain naturally occurring bacterium, can prevent larvae from growing and spreading diseases. They do not pose a threat to people, pets or plants.
Swiger said at the adult stage the best possible way to defend against mosquitoes is by using “the four Ds — Dress, Drain, Dusk/Dawn and Defend.
For more information on the Two-Step Method recommended by AgriLife Extension, go to https://fireant.tamu.edu/controlmethods/twostep/
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