Helpful UGA publications on ant control

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ant from pub
Black carpenter ants (≈3/8 up to ≈5/8 inch) are dull black and their abdomens are covered with fine, yellowish hairs. They are most common inland in central and northern Georgia.

Daniel R. Suiter and Brian T. Forschler, UGA Department of Entomology

Carpenter ants are pests for several reasons. First, they are considered mild wood-destroying organisms because they chew wood to create nest sites. They do not eat wood (as do termites), but excavate it with their strong, serrated mandibles to create random galleries where they nest. Second, because of their abundance and large size carpenter ants can be a nuisance when they forage in and around the home. Read the entire publication on Carpenter Ants

Also see Biology and Management of Carpenter Ants


Argentine ants form strong foraging trails.
Argentine ants form strong foraging trails.

Argentine Ants

Daniel R. Suiter and Brian T. Forschler, UGA Department of Entomology

Argentine ants are one of the most common nuisance insect pests in the southeastern United States and in California. Worker ants are light brown and about three-sixteenths of an inch long.

A mature colony of Argentine ants can consist of a million or more worker ants and hundreds of queens. Argentine ants form large colonies that consist of numerous nest sites that encompass large foraging areas (often multiple properties). Ants may travel hundreds of feet from nest sites to feeding sites and other nest sites on well-organized foraging trails (Figure 2). Argentine ant trails have been measured in excess of 350 feet in Georgia. Read more on Argentine Ant Control

Pest Management Popquiz

Taken from the publication Stored Product Pests in the Home by Daniel R. Suiter, Michael D. Toews, and Lisa M. Ames, UGA Department of Entomology

Indianmeal moth

The Indianmeal moth (approximately 1/2 inch long) is the most common stored product pest found in homes, where it commonly infests cereal and other grain-based foods.
The Indianmeal moth (approximately 1/2 inch long) is the most common stored product pest found in homes, where it commonly infests cereal and other grain-based foods.

The Indianmeal mothPlodia interpunctella, is the most common stored product pest in homes, where it infests bird seed, breakfast cereals, and other consumables. Indianmeal moths are most commonly found infesting food items in kitchen cupboards, but adults may be found throughout the home because they are excellent fliers and readily disperse from the food item they are infesting. Adults may be found well-away from the larval food source.

Adult Indianmeal moths are distinctive in appearance. Their wings are bi-colored, and alternate between beige and copper (Figure 1). Moths are most active at dusk, when they can be seen (indoors) flying while searching for mates and food. During the day, moths can be found resting motionless on walls and ceilings, often near their larval food source. Adults are shortlived and do not feed.

Indianmeal moth larvae, just before they pupate, are approximately 5/8 inch long, cylindrical, and dirty-white to a faint pink or green color (Figure 1B). Larvae produce visible silk webbing in the items they infest (Figure 1C) and generally pupate close to the items they are infesting. Just prior to pupation, larvae crawl away from their feeding site to pupate at the intersection of a ceiling and wall or similar seam within the cupboard, including spaces between walls and shelves and in the tight folds of packaging. Another favorite pupation site is between the corrugations of cardboard boxes. When looking for Indianmeal moths, inspectors should look between a product’s cardboard box and liner by lifting the liner out of the box.

See this information in the original publication here.

Indianmeal moth larvae (approximately 5/8 inch long and dirty-white to pink to greenish colored) often crawl away from feeding sites before they pupate.
Figure 1 B Indianmeal moth larvae (approximately 5/8 inch long and dirty-white to pink to greenish colored) often crawl away from feeding sites before they pupate.
A telltale sign of Indianmeal moth infestation is the presence of silk webbing produced by larvae.
Figure 1 C A telltale sign of Indianmeal moth infestation is the presence of silk webbing produced by larvae.

Landscape Popquiz!

Spot anthracnose on dogwood

Jean Williams-Woodward, UGA Plant Pathologist

Spot anthracnose of dogwoodSpot anthracnose of dogwood, not to be confused with the lethal canker disease, dogwood anthracnose, is common on flowering dogwoods in the Spring. Spot anthracnose, caused by the fungus, Elsinoe corni, causes small, circular, reddish spots on the bracts and leaves. Severe infection can cause leaf and bract distortion.

Spot anthracnose is mostly an aesthetic disease. It will not kill the trees or significantly affect tree growth. Once spots are seen, it is too late to manage the disease with fungicides. Fungicides are generally not needed nor recommended unless in nurseries where tree’s aesthetics can affect sales. Fungicides needed to be applied at bud break to reduce infection and disease development.

Controlling Annual Bluegrass and Lespedeza in Turf

Helpful publications from Patrick McCullough, UGA Extension Weed Specialist

Annual Bluegrass Control in Residential Turfgrass

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) is a problematic winter annual weed in residential turf. Compared to most turfgrasses, annual bluegrass has a lighter green color, coarser leaf texture and produces unsightly seedheads.

Contrary to its name, both annual (live for one season) and perennial (live for many seasons) biotypes of annual bluegrass may be found in turf.

This publication describes methods of control for annual bluegrass in residential turfgrass lawns.

To see the entire publication visit this site.


Annual Bluegrass Control in Non-Residential Commercial Turfgrass


Lespedeza Identification and Control in Turfgrass

Common lespedeza is a freely-branched summer annual legume that is a problematic weed in lawns and other turf areas. Common lespedeza, also known as Japanese clover or annual lespedeza, has three smooth, oblong leaflets with parallel veins that are nearly perpendicular to the midvein. As common lespedeza matures, the stems harden and become woody, which is attributed to persistence and competition with turfgrasses in late summer. Flowers are pink to purple and present in the leaf axils. Other lespedeza species may also be found as weeds in turf but common lespedeza is the primary species in Georgia.

Lespedeza McCullough
Lespedeza, Patrick McCullough, UGA

This publication describes ways to identify and control lespedeza in turfgrass, including:

To see the entire publication visit this site.


Here are other UGA turf weed control publications:


Climate Outlook for 2014 Growing Season and Winter 2014-15

Pam Knox, UGA Climatologist

Taken from Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast (CASE)

Following a very wet 2013, this year has gotten off to a drier than usual start, although generally soil moisture has been very good until recently. In the last few weeks, abnormally dry conditions have started to creep into the mountains in northeast Georgia as well as scattered locations in the west central and southwest parts of the state.  However, a major drought is not expected to develop this growing season.

Short-term forecasts out to two weeks indicate that some dryness may continue in southern Georgia but north Georgia is likely to be wetter. In the one to three month period that includes April through June, there are equal chances for below, near, and above normal rainfall, since accurate predictions are very hard in neutral conditions when no El Nino or La Nina are occurring. However, following recent climate trends, temperatures have an increased chance of above normal conditions for the next few months.

NOAA has now issued an El Nino watch for the potential development of an El Nino in the eastern Pacific Ocean by mid to late summer. When an El Nino occurs, we commonly see wet and cool conditions in south Georgia associated with the persistent presence of a subtropical jet stream above the earth’s surface which directs weather systems right across Georgia.

At this time, NOAA is predicting a 50 percent chance of an El Nino developing by midsummer.  If one does occur, then we can expect next winter to be cooler and wetter than normal in 2014-2015. Some scientists believe that this is likely to be a stronger than usual El Nino based on current ocean temperatures. If that happens, the cool and wet conditions will extend throughout Georgia instead of just affecting the southern part of the state.

One impact of El Nino on Georgia’s climate is a reduction in the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. However, even in a quiet season, a single direct hit by a hurricane or tropical storm can cause significant damage to the area it passes over. Most other effects of El Nino are seen in the winter when the El Nino is strongest.

Other impacts from El Nino include excessive cloudiness, which reduces solar radiation and increases drying times for hay as well as enhancing the development of fungal diseases. Low-lying areas are likely to be soggy and hard to work due to the persistent rain. Cooler temperatures and high humidity may also affect the development of pecans and Vidalia onions, reducing pecan yields as well as the average size of the onions. In general, El Nino winters are not associated with unusually late frost dates, however.  Runoff may also increase, leading to increased erosion or movement of surface applications into streams.

You can find more information about the impacts of El Nino on climate patterns and crop yields at

Amended Rules of the Georgia Structural Pest Control Commission effective April 1

GDA emblemA new webpage has been created to host the amended Rules of the Georgia Structural Pest Control Commission (SPCC) which became effective on April 1st.  The new page includes:

  • All chapters of the rules of the SPCC
  • The 2014 Residential Building Code (RBC) for under-floor ventilation
  • The rule implementation, assistance & compliance timeline
  • Structural Pest Control Act of 1955 and
  • FIFRA.

The new page  named Laws and Regulations is found on the SPCC website and the Structural Pest Control Section webpage.  All licensees were notified of the proposed rule changes in October 2013.  Based on the comments received during the public comment period, the SPCC revised some of the proposed rules.  As part of our outreach and compliance assistance effort, this announcement  was sent to all licensee email addresses that we have currently on file.

The SPCC is currently working closely with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to develop guidance policies and fact sheets to assist the industry with compliance.  As these resources become available, they will be posted on the SPCC website under “Guidance Policies”.

Laws & Regulations webpage –

The Georgia Structural Pest Control Commission

Chris Gorecki, Chairman

Derrick Lastinger, Vice-chairman

Maurice Redmond, Georgia Department of Public Health

Dr. Brian Forschler, University of Georgia

Bodine Sinyard, Adams Exterminating

Greg Holley, Zone Pest Solutions

Laurie Padgett, Consumer Protection Representative

Bees, wasps, and hornets take wing across Georgia

The warmer temperatures are bringing out the bees! Here is some information on some common flying insects we are seeing. This information is taken from the publication Management of Insect Pests in and Around the Home by Daniel R. Suiter, Brian T. Forschler, Lisa M. Ames and E. Richard Hoebeke.

Bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus spp.):

Large, black bees (3/4 inch) with bright yellow hairs on the thorax and/or abdomen. Bees from the same colony are different sizes.


Bumble bees are common inhabitants of gardens, where they are most commonly found visiting and pollinating flowers. Highly beneficial. Bumble bees are social, and live in a colony with nest mates. Like yellow jackets, colonies nest in the ground. When their nest is threatened, bumble bees can be aggressive and may sting.


If the nest is not a threat to the health and welfare of humans, leave it alone as bumble bees are excellent pollinators. If the nest must be eliminated, find the entrance and treat with a labeled insecticide formulated as an insecticidal dust or one of the various wasp and hornet aerosol sprays that shoot their contents up to 20 feet. For more information see University of Georgia Extension circular #782, Stinging andBiting Pests, at

Might be Confused With:

Carpenter bees, digger bees, yellow jackets.

Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia
Bumble bee

Large Carpenter bees (Apidae: Xylocopa virginica):

Large, black bees (3/4 inch). Appearance similar to bumble bees but with naked, hairless abdomen. Abdomen black to blackish blue.


In Georgia, March-May this bee can be found chewing dime sized holes in wood boards, logs, etc. It does not eat wood, but chews galleries to create a nest site where eggs are laid. Some bees (males) appear aggressive. Cedar boards are particularly susceptible to extensive damage by carpenter bees.


Apply an appropriately labeled dust, liquid spray, or jet aerosol directly into carpenter bee holes while bees are active. Begin treatment when bees are first found, and re-treat as needed. In late Summer, when all bees have left their nest sites, fill holes with wood filler, sand, and paint (or apply a quality wood finish).

Might Be Confused With:

Bumble bees.

 Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia

Digger bees (Apidae: Anthophora spp.):

One common species is a gray-colored bee closely resembling the honey bee, 1/2 to 5/8 inch. Females slightly larger than males.


In the Spring (March and April), this otherwise solitary bee aggregates, often in large numbers, for the purpose of mating and reproduction. Typical aggregation/nest sites are barren, grassless ground. When numerous, dozens to hundreds (even thousands) of bees can be seen flying in an erratic fashion approximately one foot above the ground. Bees are beneficial pollinators, and not aggressive even at their nest site.


Digger bees are harmless, and killing them is not recommended. To discourage future nest-site aggregations, barren areas should be covered with mulch or new turfgrass should be planted. Irrigating the area on successive days may cause bees to abandon the location. If desired, apply a spot treatment to aggregation sites with an appropriately labeled residual spray.

Might Be Confused With:

Honey bees.

Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia

Honey bees (including Africanized honey bee) (Apidae: Apis mellifera):

Caramel-colored, 1/2 to 5/8 inch, hairy bee sometimes with large accumulations of yellow pollen on their hind legs. Commonly found in gardens visiting flowers while collecting nectar. Africanized honey bees can be differentiated from non-Africanized honey bees only by a professional entomologist.


Honey bees are one of the best known, most recognized and beneficial of all insects. They pollinate billions of dollars worth of crops each year. The Africanized honey bee, a more aggressive and potentially dangerous honey bee, was found in Georgia in 2010.


The most common problem associated with honey bees is that they sometimes nest inside walls of structures. Do not kill these nests, but call a professional beekeeper or pest management specialist because the bees and honeycomb must be completely removed. Find a beekeeper to remove the bees, then hire someone to remove the honeycomb and replace the wall. All honey bee material and honeycomb residue must be completely removed or secondary pest problems may arise. A carpenter’s skills are often needed. For more detailed information see University of Georgia Extension circulars #824, Honey Bee Swarms and Bees in Walls, and #782, Stinging and Biting Pests, at

Might Be Confused With:

yellow jackets, digger bees.

 Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia

Hornets (Vespidae: Vespa spp.):

The European hornet, Vespa crabro, was accidentally introduced into North America about the middle of the 19th century. It is a large eusocial wasp with the wings reddish orange and the petiolate abdomen brown and yellow striped. There are no native hornets in the U.S.


European hornets build large, above-ground nests, usually in trees. Similar to yellow jackets and paper wasps, European hornets build a new nest each year. Each Fall all hornets die, with the exception of several queens, which overwinter. The following Spring these overwintered, mated queens initiate the construction of a new nest. European hornets are attracted to lights at night. They are not attracted to human foods and food wastes, as are yellow jackets, but they can damage fruits, such as apples, while the fruit is still on the tree.


If European hornets are found around the house at night, because these wasps will forage after dark and are attracted to lights, examine and change the lighting regime. Do not attempt to remove or treat a nest; call a pest management professional to remove nests near areas of human habitation or activity. For more information see University of Georgia Extension circular #782, Stinging and Biting Pests, at

Might Be Confused With:

Cicada killers, yellow jackets.

 Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia

Mud Daubers (Sphecidae and Crabronidae: many species):

Long, slender, solitary wasps 1 to 1.5 inches, with long, slender waists. Commonly glossy black or blue, some species with yellow highlights.


Builds series of four- to six-inch long vertical mud tubes on walls in areas protected from rain and adverse weather. Commonly found under eaves, decks, etc. Each tube comprised of individual cells housing a single larva and spider prey that wasp larvae feed on.


Knock down dry mud nests with a broom and wash mud from wall with soap and water. For more information see University of Georgia Extension circular #782, Stinging and Biting Pests, at

Might Be Confused With:

Paper wasps, potter wasps.

 Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia

Paper wasps (Vespidae: Polistes spp.):

Large (1 inch), aggressive wasps when at their nest. Various species, but all build paper-like, multi-celled, inverted umbrella nests under rain- and wind-protected eaves where wasps can enter and exit easily.


Each Fall all wasps die, with the exception of several queens, which overwinter in an inactive form in a well-protected, secluded environment such as under and in fallen logs and other ground debris. The following Spring, queens initiate and build a small paper nest where they lay eggs. Paper wasps build a new nest each year. Colonies grow and reach peak size in the Fall, at which time the cycle repeats. Like other social bees and wasps, paper wasps are aggressive when protecting their nest, and may inflict a painful sting in its defense. Adult wasps are excellent predators in vegetable gardens, and are more docile when not protecting their nest.


If nests are out of the way, leave wasps alone as they are highly beneficial predators. If desired, spray nest and wasps directly with an aerosol jet spray, or early in the year, before the nest contains too many adult wasps consider knocking down the nest with a long stick but be prepared – and able – to quickly flee the area as the nest is dislodged. Make certain no one in the area is allergic to wasp venom (stings). For more information see University of Georgia Extension circular #782, Stinging and Biting Pests, at

Might Be Confused With:

Mud daubers.

 Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia

Potter wasps (Vespidae, but sometimes recognized as Eumenidae: many species):

Also referred to as mason wasps. Common species dark blue or black with yellow or white highlights on abdomen and/or thorax. Solitary. Common species 3/4 to 1inch. Strongly sclerotized.


This wasp builds characteristic, oval-shaped (1/2 to 5/8 inch diameter) nests that appear pot-like with a knob-like handle. Pots are ornate and constructed of mud, as if built by a mason.


Knock down ‘mud pot’ nests with a broom and wash mud from wall with soap and water.

Might Be Confused With:

Mud daubers.

 Bees, wasps and hornets take wing across Georgia


Check out the UGA College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences Social Media

Social media CAESDo you like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or blogs? If so, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences may have something of interest for you!

The college has a list of many of its social media sites all in one location! Visit this site to see a list of the College’s many social media or blog sites.

Examples of information you can find include:

  • Your local Extension Office Facebook site
  • Twitter account featuring new and revised college publications (and research articles)
  • Blogs (online articles) for the landscape, pest control, row crop, and greenhouse industries
  • The UGA Trial Gardens or Coastal Botanical Gardens Twitter sites
  • Facebook pages covering invasive species, forage production, the Griffin Research and Education Garden and more …

Check out the college’s list of social media sites today at


Spring & fall are good times to control fire ants!

Original story by Sarah Lewis, student writer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

“April and September are good times to apply baits, once at the start of the season and toward the end to help control before they come back in the spring,” said Will Hudson, a professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Fire ants are most active in warm weather. Fire ant season can last 10 to 11 months out of the year in the most southern areas of Georgia. Controlling ant colonies before they produce a mound is important. However, Hudson says that once a treatment program is in effect, timing is not all that important.

Baits and sprays

The general rule of thumb is if the area is one acre or less, don’t use baits. Re-infestation is more likely from colonies outside of the yard when baits are used.

One important thing to remember is the difference between ‘no mounds’ and ‘no ants.’ “There is a difference between eliminating ants and controlling them,” he said. “Baits do not eliminate ants because there is no residual control. A new colony can still come in and be unaffected by the bait laid down prior to their arrival.”

To eliminate mounds completely, apply baits every six months, Hudson said. “There will be invasion in the meantime, and you will still have fire ants, just not enough to create a new mound,” he said.

Hudson recommends treating lawns smaller than an acre with a registered insecticide in a liquid solution. This should rid the lawn of fire ants for one to three months. If you choose a granular product, measure carefully to be sure you apply the correct amount of material and get good, even coverage, he said.

The least effective treatment option for most people is individual mound treatments, according to Hudson. Treating mounds in general is going to be an exercise of frustration, and killing an entire colony by treating just the mound is a challenge, he said.

Minimal impact

Baits are considered to have minimal environmental effects for those who chose not to use hazardous chemicals. Once the bait is out, there is hardly anytime for anything to come in contact with it before the ants get to it.

Nonchemical options include using steam or boiling water. “We recommend using boiling water to treat a mound near an area such as a well where you do not want any chemicals,” Hudson said. “Using hot water is very effective, but the problem is you are not always able to boil the water right next to the area you want treated.” Carrying the boiling water can inflict serious burns, so extreme caution should be used when treating with this method.

There are products on the market that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and labeled as organic. Hudson says organic designation is a “slippery” definition. There is an official USDA certification and many states have their own set of regulations when labeling a product as organic. This labeling can mean the product is either a natural product or derived from a natural product. “While there are a few products that qualify as organic, with most baits the actual amount of pesticide applied is minimal,” he said.

Realistic expectations

Hudson says to be careful when choosing a product because the labels can be confusing, even deceptive, and it is difficult to make the right choice. For assistance in selecting a product, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent.

“The most important thing to remember is that you need to be realistic in your expectations,” Hudson said. “If you are treating mounds, you need to be prepared. You are going to chase the mounds around the yard.”

For more information on selecting a control measure:

UGA Pest Management Handbook

Fire Ant Control Materials

Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas