A closeup image of a crazy ant. Photo: LSU AgCenter.
James of Pineville sent an email out of concern for his family, “I have seen BAD crazy ant infestations at my parent’s home in East Texas…. Are they becoming established here? And are there controls for them?”
Yes, the crazy ants (CA) are well established in Louisiana. A quick search of news stories about CA in Louisiana revealed the earliest reports in 2012.
Products with fipronil have been effective long-term treatments. Taurus SC ™, Termidor SC ™ and FUSE ™ have fipronil and are available to homeowners. Topchoice ™ has fipronil and is a professional grade of insecticide applied on lawns by licensed landscape applicators. If homeowners have used Frontline™ and other flea and tick treatment for pets, they have used fipronil safely on their furry friends. As always, read the label for safe and effective treatments.
Feral hogs in a research pen. Photo: Olivia McClure, LSU AgCenter.
AHA shared some ideas, and the homeowner was interested in contacting state-permitted hog trappers to control these destructive animals. If a citizen needs a hog trapper, an online search of “Louisiana + Nuisance Wildlife Control and Removal” will provide a link by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). This link supplies phone numbers to contact state-permitted trappers specializing in hog trapping. Some trappers will cover the whole state, and some will only cover certain parishes.
Hydrangea leaves with a fungal leaf spot. Photo: Violet Redger, Southern Landscape.
Violet saw leaf spots on a hydrangea plant and asked, “[Do you have] any idea what is going on with my hydrangea? What shall I do?”
Lee Rouse, an AgCenter agent, wrote about cercospera leaf spot on hydrangeas, “Cercospora leaf spot is a foliar disease that rarely, if ever, kills the target plant. However, in severe cases it will cause nearly complete defoliation. Mild cases of Cercospora leaf spot will cause hydrangeas to have unsightly foliage, can reduce the vigor of the shrub and possibly hinder flower buds from setting.”
Rouse recommends these control measures for this fungal disease, “It is highly important to remove any diseased leaves that have fallen from the plant as well as hand picking highly infected leaves from of the plant. Be sure to discard these disease leaves in the trash, and do not put into the compost bin.
Chemical control options of Cercospora leaf spot include spraying regularly with a product containing chlorothanil, such as Bonide Fung-onil, Ortho MAX Disease Garden Control or Daconil. Spraying will not take away the damaged area of the foliage but will prevent the spread to new foliage. Lastly, fertilize lightly with a nitrogen fertilizer to help encourage the new disease-free growth.”
Comparison of winged ants and termites. Photo: Texas A&M University.
A homeowner visited the AgCenter and brought a small vial with tiny winged insects for identification. AHA examined the insects and noted the thick waists and determined that the insects are termites.
AHA recommended that the homeowner contact a local exterminator for an inspection and treatment, if necessary.
When preparing for this article, AHA learned about three types of termites in Louisiana from the AgCenter website:
The numbers of termites in a Formosan termite colony can be greater than 10 million individuals. This is much greater than the numbers of termites in native termite colonies, which usually number in the hundreds of thousands. This enormous difference in numbers means that Formosan termites can do much more damage than native termites in a short period of time.
If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.
“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”