These Caribbean guests not welcome

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North River News Article Hobson's Pest Control Crazy Ants

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Hordes of ‘crazy’ ants invading yards and homes

Hordes of tiny six-legged invaders are taking over some Bay area yards and homes, and so far efforts to kill them off have been met with failure.

When Eileen Green moved into her Sarasota home 10 years ago, she loved to spend time in her yard – but not anymore.

“They’re in such great numbers, when you get outside, they’re all over you,” she said.

Millions of Caribbean crazy ants have invaded the yards of Green and her neighbors. They blame the ant problem partly on a large park near their homes. They’ve asked the county to treat the ants, but say it hasn’t been done.

Joe Santella said he’s used just about every product possible to get rid of the ants, but he has had no luck.

Killing the ants themselves is easy, but eradicating the species has proved to be impossible because the ants multiply so quickly and are able to travel long distances.

“You treat the house and it kills millions and then they bridge themselves and walk over the dead ants,” said Paul Hobson, the owner of Hobson’s Termite and Pest Solutions Inc.

Hobson said the non-native ants have been brought over to Florida and Texas from the Caribbean over the past few years. They tend to be especially active during the hot summer months, he said.

In the past, when Hobson treated the ants, they stayed away for three to four weeks. Now he is hoping a new product called Ensystex will help.
But for some like Green, it may be too late.

“I’m going to have to do something or move out of state,” she said.

Green has had it with the ants, and she said that if they don’t go soon – she will.

Article via Bay News 9.

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Parrish couple not crazy about crazy ants

Herald Tribune
Parrish couple not crazy about crazy ants
By Christopher O’Donnell

Published: Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

PARRISH – Home for Ryan Kraus is a one-acre plot on a quiet back street in Parrish.

Unfortunately for him and his wife Jillian, it’s a home he shares with millions and millions of Caribbean crazy ants, a relentless, moving trail of nuisance.

Local pest companies say the ant is spreading.

Kraus has sprayed pesticides and surrounded his house with shell, but nothing has driven off the ants, a non-native species that breeds so prodigiously its colonies are largely impervious to pesticides.

Killing the ants is easy. Every few days, Kraus scoops up a bucket of dead ants that have perished around the perimeter of his house.

But even pest control companies say eradicating the species is almost impossible. The colonies have several nests with multiple queens. The ants travel long distances, meaning nests are often not sprayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of money on products that really have not worked,” Kraus said. “They’ve pretty much overtaken my entire property.”

Severe infestations have been recorded around Lake Okeechobee and in West Palm Beach, Jacksonville and Miami. In more recent years they have spread to Sarasota and Parrish.

“Three years ago I had a couple of infected homes; now I have 15.” said Paul Hobson, the owner of a local pest control company. “They produce faster than you can kill them. They die, but other ants run right over the top of the dead ones.”

Hobson has already sprayed three times at Kraus’ home. The first time kept the ants at bay for three weeks. By the last application, the ants were back within a day.

On Wednesday, he gave Kraus a free treatment of about 80 gallons of a new pesticide mix that he hopes may keep the ants at bay for up to 60 days.

The mix is designed to kill most ants on contact but allow some to carry the poison back to the nests.

Detecting the presence of the tiny ants early is key to preventing colonies from establishing, said Ron Harrison, an entomologist and technical director for Orkin.

Harrison said homeowners should look under rocks and at the base of palm trees.

“When you get these massive numbers of Caribbean crazy ants, it’s not fun,” Harrison said. “They’re major nuisances when they invade electrical units.”

Mercifully for the Krauses, the ants do not bite and those that infiltrate the home through doors and windows quickly perish in the cool temperatures inside their home.

For now, Kraus is resigned to paying for regular pesticide treatments and hoping for cooler weather.
“Nobody seems to have a solution,” he said.

Article from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. View the original article here.

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