Response to Ants and Insect Pests at San Jacinto College

During the last few weeks, the Houston area has been experiencing much greater than normal ant activity.  Both fire ants and the new Rasberry Crazy Ants are invading homes and businesses across the area, including our San Jacinto College facilities.

Unfortunately, we have had delays in responding to the numerous calls for assistance treating the ants. Our landscape crews, who also serve as our licensed pesticide applicators, are naturally very busy this spring. Additionally, there are statutorily mandated (state law) notification periods required prior to application of pesticides. Both of these factors have resulted in extended time responding to calls.

With these delays some have tried to help by treating the ants themselves. We appreciate the help, but this unapproved treatment of insects in College facilities is unlawful. Texas Occupational Code, Title 12, Structural Pest Control, requires that specific procedures for material usage, notification and applicator practices be followed in all institutions of higher learning. This translates to no one other than licensed applicators may apply pesticides or any materials. So please don’t bring your own materials. It’s not legal, and it may also cause an unforeseen problem to a coworker who may be sensitive to the unapproved materials.

Another complication is that the Rasberry Crazy Ants are a new pest in Texas and are not controlled well by the traditional products. District Landscape Supervisor and certified applicator, Jeff Tschappatt, has been working with Texas A&M University to determine what products or mix of products may be most effective in controlling these ants. If we have employees applying unapproved products, then we may also affect any results Jeff determines from his trials.

In an effort to help with this problem, I have authorized an increase in overtime available to the crews. This should offer some relief in controlling the problem. In the meantime, please report or request assistance with pests by sending an email to maintenance.request@sjcd.edu. Please include all details about the nature of your need, location, and contact information. Another means for addressing your issues is to call the College Maintenance Offices at 281-476-1854.

Thank you,

Bryan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities and Construction

For more information on the Rasberry Ants, visit http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu/ants/rasberry.html