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Management — Treatment Methods

Program 1: The "Two-Step" Method

 

Step 1

  1. Once or twice per year, usually in the spring and fall, broadcast a bait-formulated insecticide as directed on the label. Most conventional baits are applied at a rate of 1 to 1½ pounds of product per acre, although some products are applied at higher rates. Periodic broadcast applications of fire ant baits will suppress ants about 90 percent when properly applied.

  2. A bait can be broadcast with hand-held, vehicle-mounted or aerial applicators. The speed and duration of ant suppression differs with the product used.

    Aerial, Hand-held and Vehicle-mounted Applicators
    Aerial Applicator Hand-held applicator Vehicle-mounted applicator

  3. Indoxacarb bait, Advion™, may control colonies within 3 days. Hydramethylnon, fipronil and spinosad baits (see Table 1 for trade names) provide maximum control 2 to 4 weeks after application, while insect growth regulator (IGR) bait products (i.e., those containing fenoxycarb, methoprene or pyriproxyfen) provide maximum suppression 2 to 6 months after treatment depending on environmental conditions.

  4. Abamectin baits act more slowly than hydramethylnon, indoxacarb and spinosad but more quickly than IGR products.

  5. Using higher rates of an IGR bait does not eliminate colonies more quickly. A late summer application produces maximum suppression the following spring.

  6. The blending of half rates of a faster-acting bait (such as hydramethylnon) plus an insect growth regulator (methoprene) may provide fast and longer-lasting suppression, a suggested practice in Texas. A commercial product, Extinguish® Plus, contains a blend of methoprene and hydramethylnon baits. At least one hydramethylnon bait label has directions for blending with a methroprene bait.

  7. Where there are many mounds per acre (200 or more), a second application may be needed after the maximum effects of the first treatment have occurred because not all mounds are affected by a single bait application.

 

Step 2

  1. Wait several days or more after applying the bait, and then treat nuisance ant colonies (such as those in sensitive or high traffic areas) using an individual mound treatment method (see Program 2). Otherwise, be patient and wait for the bait treatment to work.

  2. Any nuisance mounds that escaped the effects of the bait treatment, or colonies migrating into treated areas, should be treated as needed.

  3. In large areas individual mound treatment may not be feasible and routine broadcast bait treatments alone may provide sufficient control.

  4. Repeat the bait application when ants reinvade the area and mound numbers reach about 20 to 30 per acre.

  5. Bait products do not protect against reinvasion by ant colonies from surrounding land or by newly mated queens.

  6. Ant populations can fully recover within 12 to 18 months of the last treatment.

  7. Low-lying, moist and flood-prone areas are more prone to re-infestation