African big-headed ant treatment options

open areas : forested / densely wooded areas : residential areas : agricultural / livestock areas : near open water / rivers /streams : conservation areas

African big-headed ant - open area

Treatment products

Granular

  • Amdro (hydramethylnon (9 g/kg)
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha

Timing

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 4 hours
  • Do not apply bait right before hottest part of the day, as the ants will not be foraging then

Application method

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro is moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Granular bait may be eaten by domestic or stock animals (especially chickens) – pen animals away from treatment area or refrain from broadcasting bait where stock /domestic animals roam
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that visitors/children are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

  • Manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Hoffmann, O’Connor. 2004. Eradication of two exotic ants from Kakadu National Park. Ecological Management & Restoration 5(2): 98-105

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African big-headed ant - forested area

Treatment products

Granular

  • Amdro (hydramethylnon (9 g/kg)
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha

Timing

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 4 hours
  • Do not apply bait right before hottest part of the day, as the ants will not be foraging then

Application method

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro is moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that visitors/children are kept away from or know not to touch bait
  • Motorised blowers are hot and heavy to use. Ensure operators have access to sufficient water to prevent dehydration

Equipment required

Manual application of granular bait

  • Manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Motor blowers

  • Motorised blower
  • Petrol
  • 2 stroke oil spreader
  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves.
  • Ear protectors (with motorised spreader)

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Hoffmann. 2009. Ecological restoration following the local eradication of an invasive ant in northern Australia. Biological Invasions 12(4): 959-969

Hoffmann, O’Connor. 2004. Eradication of two exotic ants from Kakadu National Park. Ecological Management & Restoration 5(2): 98-105

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African big-headed ant - residential area

Treatment products

Outside up to 5 m from buildings

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hydramethylnon (9 g/kg)
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha

Outside within 5 m of buildings and inside buildings

Bait stations

  • Amdro (hydramethylnon 10 g/bait station)
  • Application rate 4 kg/ha. Place stations where ant activity is observed or at 3 m intervals

Timing

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 4 hours
  • Do not apply bait right before hottest part of the day, as the ants will not be foraging then

Application method

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro is moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that visitors/children are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

Manual application of granular bait

  • Broadcast with manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Bait stations

  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Hoffmann, O’Connor. 2004. Eradication of two exotic ants from Kakadu National Park. Ecological Management & Restoration 5(2): 98-105

Lord Howe Island Board. 2013. Work plan to guide the eradication of the African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) from Lord Howe Island. Lord Howe Island Board (please note that this report is updated yearly, go to the Lord Howe Island Board website to check for updated versions)

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African big-headed ant - agricultural / livestock area

Treatment products

Crop areas and areas where stock animals are not able to access the granular bait

Granular bait

  • Distance Plus (pyriproxyfen 5 g/kg in a corn grit/soybean oil granular matrix)
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha
  • May be applied to areas with crops, so long as bait is applied to inter-row areas and not directly over crop plants (must avoid getting bait stuck in the leaves)

Exterior of animal pens

Paste bait

  • Vanquish Pro (fipronil 0.1 g/kg)
  • Application rate 3.25 kg/ha, applied in ~ 1 cm3 blobs every 3 m at a height >1.5 m where livestock are likely to come into contact with granular baits

Interior of animal pens (this will only be necessary when pens are very large)

Targeted insecticide

  • NOTE. This product HAS NOT been tested on African big headed ant
  • ATTRATHOR (fipronil 0.26 g/L (concentrate) diluted at a rate of 10 ml of concentrate to in 1 L of water)

Timing

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 4 hours
  • Do not apply bait right before hottest part of the day as the ants will not be foraging then

Environmental /social considerations

  • Enforce a 42 day withholding period on harvesting vegetables or fruit grown in treatment areas treated with fipronil-based products
  • Granular bait may be eaten by domestic or stock animals (especially chickens) – pen animals away from treatment area or refrain from broadcasting bait where stock /domestic animals roam
  • Paste baits may dry out and fall to the ground, particularly in full sun
  • For this reason it is not advised to use them inside areas where stock are kept if stock are present
  • Avoid applying targeted insecticide on windy days as the spray may drift into the face or onto the operator
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that children are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Application method

Granular bait

Paste Bait

  • Vanquish Pro is sold in either a 100 g syringe or in larger, 325 g cartridges, which require a caulking gun to apply them
  • The bait is applied in ~ 1 cm3 “blobs” every 3 m at a height >1.5 m to the exterior of animal pens garden areas

Targeted insecticide

  • NOTE. ATTRATHOR HAS NOT been tested on African big headed ant. However, it may provide an alternative to granular and paste baits in areas where stock cannot be moved before treatment.
  • ATTRATHOR is sold as a concentrate, which is diluted at a rate of 10 ml concentrate in 1 L of water in a garden spray bottle
  • The solution is sprayed in an approximately 15 cm line at 3 m intervals at heights greater than 1.5 m
  • The solution may be used inside animal pens, where paste bait is likely to dry out, fall on the ground and become accessible to stock animals
  • The solution has been found to be particularly effective with some ant species when it is sprayed directly onto foraging trails

Equipment/materials required

Granular bait

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1 kg of bait which is sufficient to treat 0.1 ha
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop – 1.5 L of bait equates to 1 kg
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, spreaders and PPE

Paste bait

  • Caulking gun
  • Knife
  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Targeted Insecticide

  • Garden spray bottle
  • Water supply
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Paper mask

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Paper mask

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait
  • Wear a mask when spraying ATTRATHOR outdoors

Information Sources

Barbieri. 2015. Management Plan Atafu, Tokelau. Pacific Biosecurity Management Plan.

Lach, Barker. 2013. Assessing the effectiveness of tramp ant projects to reduce impacts on biodiversity. A report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities

Lord Howe Island Board. 2013. Work plan to guide the eradication of the African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) from Lord Howe Island. Lord Howe Island Board (please note that this report is updated yearly, go to the Lord Howe Island Board website to check for updated versions)

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African big-headed ant – near open water

Treatment products

No precedent was found for treating African big headed ant (ABHA) near open water. The following have been used within 5 m of water to treat yellow crazy ant and little fire ant respectively

  • Engage P (S-methoprene 5 g/kg) has been applied using manual spreaders in riparian areas and within 5 m of waterways and drains in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Queensland, Australia
  • Engage + (S-methoprene 5 g/kg in a corn grit and soy oil granular matrix), application rate 5 kg/ha

These products may be worth testing for the control of ABHA near water. The matrix appears to be the similar to Amdro baits, which have been successful in treating ABHA. However, as the African big-headed ant typically displays a feeding preference for protein (Loke and Lee, 2004), the matrix might need to be adjusted.

Timing

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 4 hours
  • Do not apply bait right before hottest part of the day as the ants will not be foraging then
  • Do not apply bait if only pupae are present in nests
  • Nest should contain larvae and/or new queens for baiting to be effective

Application method

Granular baits

Environmental /social considerations

  • The 2004 Environmental Monitoring Branch of the US Department of Pesticide Regulations Document “Environmental Fate of methoprene”, indicates S- methoprene binds with organic sediments in water and breaks down rapidly (80% reduction within 13 days) in the presence of sunlight, suggesting it’s availability to aquatic organisms is limited
  • However, it is described as moderately toxic to cold water and freshwater fish and practically non-toxic to warm water fish
  • Toxicity to aquatic invertebrates is highly variable ranging from low (Daphnia magna (water flea) – LC50 900 µg/l) to high (Mysidopsis bahia (opossum shrimp) - LOEC 2 µg/l)
  • Bioaccumulation has been observed in the edible tissues of crayfish and bluegill sunfish.
  • S-methoprene is an insect growth regulator it does not kill adult ants, so several treatments may be required before a noticeable decline in numbers is observed

Equipment required

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1 kg of bait
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop – 1.5 L of bait equates to 1 kg
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, spreaders and PPE

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves.

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Csondes. 2004. Environmental fate of methoprene. Report for Department of Pesticide Regulation California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Monitoring Branch

Lach, Barker. 2013. Assessing the effectiveness of tramp ant projects to reduce impacts on biodiversity. A report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities

Lach, Hoskin. 2015. Too much to lose: yellow crazy ants in the Wet Tropics. Wildlife Australia Spring 2015: 37-41

Loke, Lee. 2004. Foraging behaviour of field populations of the big-headed ant, Pheidole megacephala (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 43(2): 211-219

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African big-headed ant – conservation area

Treatment products

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hydramethylnon 9 g/kg)
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha
  • 10 g/bait station, bait stations must be placed no more than 10 m apart

Timing

  • Do not apply during the wet season
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours

Application method

OR

*Bait stations are a time intensive method and only recommended when it is essential to avoid non-target impacts and the infestation is relatively small (< 5 ha) and localised

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro is moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that visitors/children are kept away from or know not to touch bait
  • Motorised blowers are hot and heavy to use. Ensure operators have access to sufficient water to prevent dehydration

Equipment required

Manual application of granular bait

  • Manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Motor blowers

  • Motorised blower
  • Petrol
  • 2 stroke oil spreader
  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Bait stations

  • Bait stations
  • Measuring cups
  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Ear protectors

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Causton, Sevilla, Porter. 2005. Eradication of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), from Marchena Island, Galapagos: on the edge of success? Florida Entomologist 88(2): 159-168

 Gaigher, Samways, Jolliffe, Jolliffe. 2012. Precision control of an invasive ant on an ecologically sensitive tropical island: a principle with wide applicability. Ecological Applications 22(5): 1405: 14-12

content reviewed by Ben Hoffmann, CSIRO Australia, January 2017