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Fire Ants and Texas Nursing Homes Staff roles and responsibilities The Texas Fire Ant in Nursing Home Project Texas Cooperative Extension Texas A&M University.

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Presentation on theme: "Fire Ants and Texas Nursing Homes Staff roles and responsibilities The Texas Fire Ant in Nursing Home Project Texas Cooperative Extension Texas A&M University."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Fire Ants and Texas Nursing Homes Staff roles and responsibilities The Texas Fire Ant in Nursing Home Project Texas Cooperative Extension Texas A&M University System Project Coordinator: Michael Merchant Coit Road, Dallas, TX

3 Red Imported Fire Ant

4 Fire ant workers Vary in size –(2-5 mm, 1/16-3/16 inch) Most of the colony consists of female workers –Defend the colony –collect food –care for queen and brood

5 Fire ant stings 80% of Texans have been stung by fire ants Stings produce severe burning and itching at site Can also cause allergic response image by Matt Yoder

6 The Sting

7 Fire ant mounds

8 Fire Ants Respond quickly to nest disturbance Live in large “colonies” –100,000 to 500,000 workers Photograph courtesy USDA, Scott Bauer

9 How do fire ants find food? Workers forage randomly from nest Successful workers recruit others to food or water source Rapid recruitment within minutes

10 Ant foraging trails Ant that finds food lays down odor trail when traveling to nest Other ants follow trail and reinforce it Removing trails with common cleaners disrupts attachment to food source

11 How fire ants enter buildings

12 What to look for Outdoor mounds Live or dead ants Soil and debris in resident rooms Cracks and openings Risky conditions –food –spillage –soiled linens, clothing Look for soil, debris or ants along walls and baseboards Look for outdoor mounds within 100 feet of buildings

13 Who’s at risk? Mobility-, sensory- or communication-impaired residents Bedfast residents (6% of nursing home residents nationally) ADL dependent residents (estimated 3,375 Texas nursing home residents) Catheterized residents (6.5% nationally)

14 Consequences of not addressing fire ant problems Increased risk to residents Increased liability for facility* –failure to provide a clean and safe environment free of pests and rodents –failure to have written policies and procedures to prohibit…neglect and abuse of residents *42 CFR § (h)(4) [TAG f469], and 42 CFR § (c) [TAG f224], respectively

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16 National Conference Urban Entomology, May 2006 Michael Merchant, Texas A&M Univ. Research Center, Dallas Documented fire ant stinging cases in long-term care facilities DateLocationVictimCitation 1991Abilene,TX2 deaths, one survivorDrees (1995) 1992Houston, TXElderly female, delayed deathDrees (1995) unrecordedFL74 yr old female, no reported consequencesdeShazo and Banks (1994) UnrecordedTX90 y female, death 6 days laterdeShazo and Williams (1995) Houston, TXElderly male stung times, recovered.Houston Chronicle Brookhaven, MS67 y female, 500+ stings, died 5 days laterdeShazo et al (1999) Starkville, MS60 y male, confluent areas of stings on head, back, arms, chest, d 16 month later deShazo et al (1999) Flower Mound, TX89 y female, d 3 mo. laterDallas Observer North Port, FL87 y female, stings, d ? days laterMiami Herald Hollywood, FL85 y female, recoveredMerchant case files Mobile, AL30s female with mental incapacities, stung hundreds of times, recovered Merchant case files, Mobile Register 9/7/2000, 10/4/ Palm Beach, FLElderly male, outcome unknownPalm Beach Post Galveston, TX82 y old female, hundreds of stings, d 3 wks laterHouston Chronicle 3/18/ Bradenton, FL90 y old female; arm, neck, back, upper torso covered with stings. $1.2 m award Orlando Sentinel Tyler, TX91 y old female stung 600+ times. d 6 mo later, unrelated causes, $300K award Houston Chronicle, Lake Mary, FLElderly female covered with stings upper body, d later of unrelated causes Merchant case files Calloway, FLElderly female with numerous fire ant stings, recoveredMerchant case files

17 What can your facility do? Establish contract with reputable pest management company Make contractor aware of at-risk patients Assign responsible person(s) as contacts for contractor Establish and communicate written policy concerning fire ant control and what to do in case of sighting Assign staff roles Nighttime bed checks important for at-risk residents

18 What can you do? Report fire ant signs immediately Remove at-risk patients from infested room Record report in pest control complaint log Remove foraging trails with approved cleaning agent Collect ants for pest control company collect ants in ethyl or rubbing alcohol for preservation

19 Texas Imported Fire Ant research and Management Plan

20 The Texas Fire Ant in Nursing Home Project Mike Merchant, Dallas, TX Janet Hurley, Dallas, TX Paul Nester, Houston, TX Wizzie Brown, Austin, TX Molly Keck, San Antonio, TX Kim Schofield, Dallas, TX


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