Florida researchers offering advice on crazy ants

Crazy ants
Crazy ants

Ken Micklow with Gardenmasters Lawn & Ornamental Pest Control lets Caribbean crazy ants craw on his hand in this file photo from Thursday, August 21, 2008 in Sarasota, Fla. The ants do not bite but are found in massive numbers, smell and eat every other ground living insect in their path. Homeowners encountering infestations on their patios have to sweep dead ants away on an almost daily basis. Micklow is one of the few exterminators who has figured out a way to control the species. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune/Staff Photo by Ed Pfueller)

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.

GAINESVILLE — University of Florida researchers are still working on strategies for controlling crazy ants found so far in 20 Florida counties, but they're offering some preliminary advice.

They advised homeowners on Thursday to seek professional help because crazy ants are difficult to eradicate.

The golden-brown invaders from the Caribbean and South America run around erratically and cause property damage but don't sting like fire ants.

Fire ant baits don't work well because they contain oil to attract those fat-loving pests. Their crazy cousins hate oil.

Researchers also advise homeowners to remove leaves and other yard litter where the insects like to nest. They also should fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems and minimize standing water sources.

Extermination efforts work best in February and March before the breeding season begins.

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