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Old 16-06-2003, 08:20 PM
Bob Batson
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Default New Gel Bait Now Available for Fire Ant Control

The following news item is from the USDAs' ARS at

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

Bob Batson

"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines"

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