Pro Bono Fire Ant Treatment Saves a School

Children in northern Florida are just returning to school and may find something more frightening than homework—fire ants. This summer’s excessive rains have caused fire ant populations to explode, just before the school year begins. But at one school, fire ants have been expelled. That’s because Trad’s Pest Control, a full-service pest control and turf management company in Jacksonville, teamed up with FMC to treat the grounds of San Juan del Rio Church and School in nearby St. John’s, Florida. The school’s fire ant problem has grown significantly over the summer, when turf was untreated and consistent rains caused the red imported fire ant (RIFA) population to boom. Trad’s donated the manpower while Philadelphia-based FMC Professional Solutions donated the ammunition, namely its Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology. Talstar XTRA is a new type of granular insecticide that controls fire ant mounds in as little as fifteen minutes while generating virtually no dust or odor when applied. “Verge technology is based on the same technology as kitty litter,” explained Denise Wartan, General Manager of Trad’s. “It’s a clay based granule that breaks down and disappears into to the soil quickly and stays there. This is great for schools that need help fast, but also need a solution that lasts.” Wartan adds that Trad’s is certified in ‘integrated pest management’ for schools, so the company uses approved, low-impact products and treats in a manner to limit children’s exposure. Red imported fire ants (RIFA) live in mounds in all types of turf, along driveways and sidewalks and just about anywhere there is ample soil and moisture. When disturbed, fire ants will...

After the storm: fighting fire ants in Florida after Hurricane Debby.

The average June rainfall in Live Oak, Florida is six inches. In June of 2012, forty inches of rain fell, resulting in a formidable surge of fire ants in Florida. The perpetrator was Hurricane Debby, a 200-mile wide storm that lashed north central Florida with high winds, tornadoes and sheets of rain. In the small farming community of Live Oak, more than 40 businesses and 900 homes were flooded and six months later, many were still holding water. “It was unbelievable,” said Roy Crain, general manager of Live Oak Pest Control, Inc., a 40-year-old, family owned pest control company serving Suwannee, Lafayette and Madison counties. “The storm seemed to just come in and sit. Numerous homes and businesses were flooded.” And the insect pressure was daunting. “I never saw so many photos of floating fire ants on Facebook,” said Crain. “And now, we are still seeing unprecedented amounts of ants, even in areas with no problems before. And I’m talking about beach ball size mounds, not little ones.” So what is Live Oak’s strategy in the wake of the storm? Most homes and businesses get two subsequent applications of Talstar® Professional on their lawns to start, before dropping down to applications in March, May, July and September. The liquid applications keep fire ant activity “under control” without too much expense. A granular insecticide is applied around the perimeter of the homes for an added layer of protection. Live Oak Pest Control is also trying a new product, Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology, which offers fast and long-term mound control, as well as less dust and odor. Crain received...

High school turf fields are free of fire ants thanks to FMC Professional Solutions.

To help them tackle their fire ant problems, five football teams throughout the southern United States were each given 10 bags of the fast acting and long lasting Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granular technology to control their fire ant problems on their high school turf as part of our “Friday Night Lights” Contest. Here are some of their stories: Suwannee High School, Live Oak, FL, Courtesy of Live Oak Pest Control, Inc. Roy Crain of Live Oak Pest Control, Inc in Live Oak, Florida (shown in middle, between technician Ryan Cannon and Live Oak owner Bob McGranahan) entered the contest on behalf of the Suwannee High School Bulldogs. The field had a fire ant problem as a result of Hurricane Debby which left the area with more than 35 inches of rain. After heavy rains, fire ants can ball up and travel into new areas, and can easily create mounds in rain-soaked turf, even manicured turf like sports fields. Suwannee’s football program is a strong one and has produced some NFL players, including New York Giants’ Bruce Johnson and free agent Kelly Jennings. Perhaps one of these players will be the next NFL star. Go Bulldogs! Richard Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, NC Brad Fisher, athletic director for Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC, is congratulated...

Amazingly fast fire ant mound treatment – watch this two-minute video!

This summer, I visited Bruce Ryser down in Tampa. Bruce is our pest Market Specialist in Florida, and I can always count on him to find what I’m looking for — in this case, some massive fire ant mounds. The plan was to test our new Talstar® XTRA GC granular insecticide product as a fire ant treatment to see just how quickly it works. So we set up the video camera and a timer, and let ‘er rip. Here’s what we saw…a huge fire ant mound crushed in TEN MINUTES!!!! Besides fire ant mound treatments, you can also broadcast Talstar XTRA GC to control everything from sod webworms to mole crickets to ticks for up to four months. Some superintendents use it just on tees and greens, while others go wall to wall. It just depends on how bad insect activity is on your course. If you need help deciding which way to go, contact an FMC Market Specialist. Remember though, if you broadcast it just on tees and greens, keep a few bags in your cart for fire ant treatments on mounds that pop up on fairways or around the clubhouse—especially after it rains. Apply broadcast treatments at no more than 0.50 pounds active ingredient per acre (4.6 pounds granules per 1000 square feet) on an annual basis. You may do two applications of 2.3 pounds per 1,000 sq ft. Treat fire ant mounds by applying 1/2 cup of Talstar XTRA GC per mound and then drench the mound with one to two gallons of water. Always read and follow Talstar XTRA GC label directions. For home lawns...

Fire ants are ready to go back to school, too.

Early fall means it’s time to go back to school. It also happens to be the time of year when fire ants are most active. These pests dwell mainly in southern states and emerge when temperatures are between 72 and 96 degrees. Since there are a lot of extracurricular outdoor activities on school grounds and athletic fields this time of year, it’s important that school officials and parents be aware of the risks associated with fire ant colonies and learn how to identify fire ants. As a turf professional, they will turn to you with questions and advice on a fire ant management plan and treatment strategy. Fire ant mounds are usually a few inches tall, and can range from flat to dome shaped. New nests tend to be built after a rainfall when soil is damp and easy to maneuver. Schools should take extra care to monitor high-traffic outdoor areas like athletic fields, common areas, playgrounds and along sidewalks, patios and parking lots. If a nest is disturbed, fire ants will attack quickly and aggressively. The three most common fire ant species are the red imported fire ant, the imported fire ant, and the mature southern fire ant. All three species are found in the southern states, are aggressive and have very painful stings. In most cases, stings can be treated with a topical antihistamine and a cold compress. However, about one in 100 children are at risk for allergic reactions to fire ant stings. When a child experiences more severe reactions, including sweating, nausea or excessive itching, emergency medical services and the child’s parents should be contacted...

Knowing Your Ants – A Guide to Proper Identification

If you can’t tell an acrobat ant from a carpenter ant or rover ant, it’s time to check out the free Ant Identification Guide from FMC Professional Solutions. This handy six-page brochure provides photos and information on 17 ants commonly found in the United States. Learn simple steps you can take to keep ants out of turf, as well as valuable information on the right products to use for control of each infesting species. Ants come in many varieties, and different species require different treatment approaches. Knowing the characteristics of each ant species will help you achieve faster, longer-lasting control, leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention. In addition to the Ant Identification Guide, FMC Professional Solutions offers other valuable tools, such as a Fire Ant Risk Assessment & Calculator, free Label Change Notification Service, FMC EZ Learn Modules, interactive overviews of all FMC products and a Market Specialist...