Red Imported Fire Ants More Effectively Controlled Through Water-Resistant Baits

According to researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, infestations of red imported fire ants can be more effectively controlled through insecticide baits that can withstand moisture. Water-resistant baits has a significant advantage over standard baits that breakdown once wet.

The red imported fire ant and the little fire ant are examples of the ant species that invaded and thrived in the United States since their introduction. The red imported fire ant has spread through the south-eastern part of the US while the little fire ant has become widespread in the islands of Hawaii. Since both locales have moisture in their environments, the existing baits are ineffective.

There is a lot of promise with the new formulation of water-resistant ant bait because it carries an active ingredient that prevents the ability of the ant colony’s queen to produce eggs. At the end of a 13-week test, it was found out that the standard baits stopped working in wet conditions. When the water resistant baits were used, exposure has stopped producing worker ants.

The experiment was designed carefully to ensure that standard ant baits and water-resistant baits were deployed in closely matching wet conditions. In experimenting with pest control techniques, it is critical to ensure that similar-sized ant colonies are compared and their exposure to bait must be under the same moisture and temperature conditions. All variables must be effectively controlled when comparing the two formulations of the same insecticide or else it would be difficult to show significant differences between the two.

The water-resistant or hydrophobic ant bait is produced by a Taiwan-based company that has a US patent. The bait is not yet available in the US but it is hoped that the product will appear sometime in the future because it will be very useful in pest control situations where there is heavy moisture.

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