Well, there were European Fire Ants In Massachusetts, but we seem to be in the clear for now. But that does not mean it will stay that way. If you come in contact with them contact A1-Exterminators immediately!
European Fire Ants Emerge in Massachusetts
News that a pair of yards in a Cambridge, Mass., neighborhood was invaded by Myrmica rubra, or the European fire ant, serves as a reminder that this region is susceptible to this troublesome invader.
Brad Harbison | July 29, 2010 |
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When pest management professionals hear the words “invasive fire ant species” New England is generally not the area of the country from which they expect to hear these reports. But news that a pair of yards in a Cambridge, Mass., neighborhood was invaded by Myrmica rubra, or the European fire ant, serves as a reminder that this region is susceptible to this troublesome invader.
George Williams, general manager and staff entomologist for Environmental Health Services, Norwood, Mass., says Myrmica rubra
have been in New England for more than 100 years, but the reports from Cambridge
have refocused attention on this pest.
“Up until literally right now this ant was not a problem for homeowners. They are usually found in grassy, marshland areas,” Williams said. “In the case of (the Cambridge properties) the ants were spreading aggressively on the properties, in areas where children were playing, in the garden and under the deck.”
It’s believed the Myrmica rubra in Cambridge hitched a ride in hostas that a neighbor brought back from Maine. Williams and Harvard University Entomologist Gary Alpert, Ph.D, have been studying this recent outbreak. Alpert told WBZ that the area could experience what he calls a second wave that “is probably unique for Massachusetts.”
Alpert also told WBZ that once the females mate, they drop their wings and walk to a new nest, spreading from one yard to the next. “Think of it like a cancer. It doesn’t metastasize, it’s like one big tumor that just keeps spreading and spreading and spreading.”
There are several important behavioral differences between Myrmica rubra and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) — which is the invasive fire ant species most prevalent throughout the U.S. For example, Solenopsis invicta will construct complex mounds, whereas Williams says there is “no rhyme or reason” for how Myrmica rubra will behave on a property.
“Carpenter ants, for example, will forage along trails, while (Myrmica rubra) will be found everywhere throughout a property — in bushes, up in trees, under stones, in railroad ties, rock walls, open lawn areas, under patio blocks, etc. In instances with supercolonies it will appear as if ‘the ground is moving.’”
In terms of identification, Myrmica rubra
is a two-noded ant thatisreddish-brown in color. In addition to having the ability to sting, another important distinguishing feature is Myrmica rubra’spropodeum (the first abdominal segment fused anteriorly to the thorax) has two spines pointing backwards, which is one of the main differences with other native ants (not of the genus Myrmica) in the northeastern
U.S, according to the University of Florida Department of Entomology website.
Williams said baits show the greatest potential for controlling Myrmica rubra,
however there are several challenges with baits. “We are not sure of the efficacy of commercially available brands as sugars are consumed by workers whereas proteins go to the queens.” Williams said that there are no current fire ant baits registered for use in Massachusetts
. “Broadcasting granular baits would pose the easiest application method vs. liquids and gel formulations since the application area is expansive and placement baiting outdoors would be labor intensive,” he said. “I would expect the non-repellent liquid products to work well on this species, however this is not a low impact application as non-target and beneficial insects are at risk due to the propensity of Myrmica rubra
to forage on foliage, lawns, and trees. Williams and Alpert will be conducting a baiting study that they hope will shed additional light on the best ways to treat Myrmica rubra.