By Eric Paysen, technical services manager, Professional Pest Management, Syngenta
Managing large-colony ant species is one of the biggest challenges facing pest management professionals (PMPs) today. Species like the Argentine ant are notoriously adaptive and persistent. This species is termed invasive in North America because it was introduced accidentally through human commerce from South America.
These ants are especially difficult to deal with outside their native range because workers from different colonies typically cooperate and aren’t aggressive toward each other. They form vast cooperative networks with hundreds of thousands of workers, many queens and dense trail systems that share resources for developing broods in many satellite nesting sites. This is related to the fact that all or most of today’s colonies originated from those first queens that became established in North America and they all “smell” the same.
In their native range in South America, neighboring colonies have different colony odors and instinctively compete for territory and resources. The resulting deaths from epic ant wars help keep their numbers in check. In North America and other parts of the world where this stubborn pest is established and nests cooperate, keeping numbers in check often falls to PMPs. Effectively managing these large-colony ants can result in satisfied customers and positive reviews.
Syngenta recognizes large-colony ants are an opportunity and a challenge for PMPs, which is why we continually conduct research trials on these specific ants. Advion® WDG insecticide is one example resulting from this work. The versatile, sprayable version of the trusted Advion brand effectively controls many pests, including large-colony ants.
An integrated pest management approach should be used to manage large-colony ant species. This approach should include inspections, products with different modes of action and effective baiting techniques. In a recent field trial conducted with the University of California, Riverside, Advion WDG helped manage Argentine ants around homes in southern California, where they are prevalent. Using a combination of Advion WDG, targeted gel bait placements, and granular baits, ants were greatly reduced during peak season when untreated areas were seeing sharp increases. Most importantly, we maintained 90% reduction for eight weeks. Read more about the study in PCT Magazine’s October issue
With a comprehensive approach and the right attitude, PMPs can achieve success against these challenging large-colony ant species. For more information about large-colony ant control solutions, visit SyngentaPMP.com
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