Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

New Gel Bait Now Available for Fire Ant Control / June 12, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
ARS News and Information Search News and Info Science for Kids Image Gallery Agricultural Research Magazine Publications and Newsletters News Archive News and Info home ARS News and Information
Latest news | Subscribe

 

New Gel Bait Now Available for Fire Ant Control

By Jan Suszkiw
June 12, 2003

Fine--but deadly--dining awaits pesky ants that sample a new bait gel formulation developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists and a cooperating company.

Waterbury Companies, Inc. will sell the new bait gel as Drax NutraBait later this month pending Environmental Protection Agency registration on its use for odorous house-, pavement-, pharaoh-, little black-, ghost-, Argentine-, carpenter- and crazy ants.

ARS and Waterbury recently applied for a joint patent on the bait gel formulation since it is eaten by fire ants--a first for such products, according to Guadalupe Rojas, an entomologist at ARS' Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans, LA. Rojas and ARS entomologist Juan Morales-Ramos began working on the new formulation there about three years ago to lure the tiny, stinging pests away from bait traps intended to kill Formosan subterranean termites. Both pests are targets of large-scale ARS research and control projects in the Southeast.

Under a cooperative agreement signed in 2002, Waterbury researchers Ligia Hernandez and Jonathan Peters collaborated with the ARS entomologists to refine and adapt the formulation to Waterbury's bait gel specifications. Waterbury indicates it has supplied experimental use samples to university scientists for independent testing in side-by-side comparisons with other products.

ARS' bait gel tests include ongoing, areawide trials at four fire ant-infested sites: ARS-SRRC; the ARS U.S. Small Fruits Research Unit in Poplarville, Miss.; a residential neighborhood in Poplarville; and the Mississippi State University Experiment Station.

Observing and chemically analyzing what the pest likes to eat at different times of the year was critical to the entomologists' development of the bait formulation, which comprises a specific mixture of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. The final product is a weather-resistant, yellow gel that the ants will eat year-round and that can be squeezed onto both flat and vertical surfaces. It contains 5 percent boric acid, which, in tests, killed fire ant colonies in two months or less, depending on their size and the season.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

Top | News Staff | Photo Staff

E-mail the web team Privacy and other policies Site map About ARS Information Staff Bottom menu

Home | News | Pubs | Magazine | Photos | Sci4Kids | Search
About ARS Info | Site map | Policies | E-mail us

Last Modified: 6/12/2003
Footer Content Back to Top of Page