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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Need to know more about caring for and maintaining your farm pond? This seminar will cover all aspects of pond management in one setting.
Friday, May 2, 2014
Ben E. Keith Community Room
2248 Live Oak Street, Commerce
Cost: $10 - Registration 12:30 - Program begins at 1:00pm
Instructed by: Dr. Billy Higginbotham
Topics Include:
Farm Pond Management Weed ID & Control Methods
Fish Stocking & Management Drought Management
2 CEU Hours (1Gen./1IPM) given to Pesticide License holders
Must have Pesticide License # - Drivers License # no longer accepted
Bring your pond weeds for identification.
For more Information contact:
Hunt County Extension - 903-455-9885
Kaufman County Extension - 972-932-9069
Rockwall County Extension - 972-204-7660

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Private Pesticide Applicator Training - March 21, 2014

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We have many great educational programs planned for 2014 on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Horticulture topics in Hunt County. We want to be sure you know about these opportunities. Please email to sign up for our monthly email newsletters for Ag/Natural Resources or Horticulture. (Please specify which newsletter(s) you are interested in.) Your email address will not be shared with any other entity, and you have the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Carpenter Ants Swarming

 Provided by Insects in the City, Dr. Mike Merchant, Extension Urban Entomologist

Campanotus swarmers
Photos: Male (left) and female carpenter ant swarmers.
Note the pinched waist that distinguishes these insects from termites.

Many social insects periodically do something called “swarming”.  Swarming occurs when reproductively mature, but unmated, kings and queens leave the nest to mate.  These mating couples are winged and are referred to as alates, or swarmers.  The earliest swarmers to emerge in the winter are carpenter ants.

This week my youngest daughter, home for the weekend for a visit, informed her entomologist dad that the upstairs shower was covered with large ants.  A quick inspection confirmed that we were being invaded by carpenter ants.  A few years ago we remodeled this particular shower, tearing out sheet rock and insulation and encountered carpenter ants living in the surrounding walls.  We throughly cleaned out what we could and sprayed the walls down with a residual insecticide before reinstalling insulation and more water-resistant Hardyboard® in the new shower stall. Apparently they are back.

Carpenter ants are relatively large for ants, 1/4 to 1/2 inch-long.  They may come in different colors, but are usually red or black, or a mixture of the two colors (see pictures).  They may or may not have wings. In my home I only spotted the wingless worker ants, but I suspect the swarmers will show up soon. Dozens, even hundreds of swarmers may emerge from an indoor carpenter ant nest.

In some parts of the U.S. carpenter ants are important wood-destroying pests–not something that any homeowner wants to see in their house.  But here in Texas our carpenter ants are a little less threatening. They certainly can be a nuisance through their presence, and for the little piles of debris they often deposit on windowsills and floor near their nests.  But they do not do significant damage to 2×4 studs or other structural wood.

Unfortunately, carpenter ants are always difficult to treat and eliminate completely from the home.  For my part I plan to inject an insecticide into the gap in the shower grouting from which they obviously emerged, reseal the grout and not lose much sleep over the incident.

If you discover carpenter ants in your home, look for the hole where they are emerging.  This may or may not mark the exact location of the nest, but it will be close.  For most people, calling a professional is the best option for control.  If you choose to try the DIY route, you can either seal up the hole and do nothing, or attempt to treat the hole with an aerosol insecticide labeled for use indoors against ants and then seal the hole.  You may be fortunate, and eliminate the colony in this way, or you may eventually have to resort to professional assistance.  In any case, doing nothing to the ants will not likely result in any serious damage to the home…just some nuisance ants emerging from time to time.

For more information about these ants, see publication E-2001 on carpenter ants, or the publication on swarming insects indoors, Ent-2012.