Fire Ants in Blueberries


Damage:
Although fire ants may feed on ripe fruit, they have only an insignificant impact on crop yields.
They may even increase the amount of marketable fruit because they are natural enemies of other pests (e.g. cutworms, leafrollers, maggots, etc.) that live or pupate in the soil.
Fire ants are regarded as pests primarily because they attack pickers and other agricultural workers who tend the bushes.

Control:
There are several formulations of insecticides and growth regulators that are sold for controlling fire ants, but only carbaryl (Sevin) and diazinon are labelled for use in blueberry fields. Sevin can be applied as a foliar spray one day before harvest to kill foraging workers. This provides only short-term protection so pickers can harvest the fruit without being stung. For more long-lasting protection, diazinon is used as a mound drench to saturate the soil and kill the occupants of an entire nest site. Mix one pint of diazinon in 100 gallons of water and use one gallon of this solution for mound up to 8 inches in diameter and two gallons for larger mounds (Banks 1990). Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for control recommendations in your region.
Drench treatments are most effective when applied on cool, sunny mornings while the ants, including queens and immatures, are concentrated near the soil surface. Later in the day and during hot, dry weather, the ants retreat deep into the mound where the insecticide is less likely to reach them

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/LHtqte

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