Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Get 'Two Steps' Ahead Of Fire Ants With Organic Control

Date:
May 12, 2004
Source:
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
Summary:
Red imported fire ants love wet, rainy, cool days like the ones that ushered in spring. That's why so many of their mounds have been popping up all over Texas this year. But help is only two steps away.

Kimberly Engler, Texas Cooperative Extension program specialist, demonstrates how to apply broadcast bait, the first step in the two-step method. (Texas Cooperative Extension photo)

DALLAS - Red imported fire ants love wet, rainy, cool days like the ones that ushered in spring. That's why so many of their mounds have been popping up all over Texas this year. But help is only two steps away.

When the ground temperature stays above 65 degrees for several days, fire ants begin to build up mounds, produce young and forage for food. That is one of the best times to manage populations, according to Kimberly Engler, Texas Cooperative Extension program specialist for urban Integrated Pest Management.

"The best way to control the red imported fire ant is the 'Texas Two-Step' Method, which now incorporates organic products into the overall management plan," Engler said. "This plan follows an IPM approach that involves minimal risk to people, pets and the overall environment."

The first step is to let them eat bait.

"Apply a broadcast bait, which is a product containing a food source and an insecticide. The bait should be broadcast over the entire yard in the fall and spring," Engler said. "The bait is carried by the workers to the rest of the colony, where it becomes a shared food source. This product kills the whole fire ant colony, which prevents new mounds from forming and treats unseen mounds."

Some of the organic baits on the market that are listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute are Safer Brand Fire Ant Bait and Green Light Fire Ant Control with Conserve. These products contain the active ingredient spinosad.

"Spinosad is a product formed from a common bacteria found in nature," Engler said. "Once ingested by the fire ant, spinosad attacks the nervous system causing paralysis and death."

Engler warned that to work correctly, baits must be applied at the right time and used with patience. Baits are only effective when the fire ants are searching for food.

"Fire ants will forage when the soil surface temperature is between 70 and 90 degrees, which is usually between May and September," Engler said. "To see if fire ants are actively foraging, place a small amount of bait or food, such as a hot dog or potato chips, by the mound. Also, only fresh bait products should be used. Fire ants will not pick up the bait if it smells rancid."

The second step is to treat the individual mounds.

"The mound treatment is the fastest way to get rid of the fire ant mounds. Apply a mound drench to provide immediate control of large mounds," said Engler. "However, step two should be limited to those mounds found around the foundation and in high traffic areas."

Some organic individual mound drenches that are listed by Organic Materials Review Institute are Safer Brand Fire Ant Mound Drench and Citrex Fire Ant Killer, both containing the active ingredient d-limonene.

D-limonene is an extract of orange oil released from crushed or grated orange peels. When the citrus fruits are juiced the oil is pressed out of the rind. D-limonene is the oil left behind and collected.

"D-Limonene destroys the wax coating of the insect's respiratory system," Engler said. "When applied directly, the insect suffocates."

Fire ants came into the United States from South America, probably in soil used for ships' ballast. They were accidentally introduced in the 1930s and have been spreading ever since.

For more information on the organic two-step method, visit http://fireant.tamu.edu/materials/factssheets/fapfs039_2002rev.pdf.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. "Get 'Two Steps' Ahead Of Fire Ants With Organic Control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040510014001.htm>.
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. (2004, May 12). Get 'Two Steps' Ahead Of Fire Ants With Organic Control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040510014001.htm
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications. "Get 'Two Steps' Ahead Of Fire Ants With Organic Control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040510014001.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins