Tech Notes

Identification and treatment of red imported fire ants

By Chris Keefer, Technical Services Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management

Red imported fire ants are thought to have arrived in the U.S. from Brazil around 1940. Since then, they have spread to at least 14 states across the country, where they build unsightly mounds and deliver painful stings.

Common red imported fire ant characteristics include:

  • Adults are reddish in color
  • They are polymorphic (a colony can contain ants of different sizes)
  • They possess a stinger
  • Their pedicels are two-segmented
  • They have 10-segmented antennae with two-segmented clubs
  • They can have multiple generations per year
  • They can complete a life cycle (from egg to adult) in as few as 30 days
  • Queens can survive between two and six years
  • Workers can survive for as many as 180 days
  • They are active during the spring, summer and fall
Before taking any management actions, properly identify the insects present so an appropriate plan of action can be implemented. Red imported fire ant activity is seasonal and, in most cases, can be identified before a heavy infestation occurs. Important factors in these infestations include weather, fertilizer, water, aeration, disease and weed management. These fire ants typically don’t thrive in lush, well-maintained turfgrass.

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach that includes inspection, identification and chemical controls is key for preventing red imported fire ants. Support an IPM approach by following the protocols of the SecureChoice℠ Fire Ant Assurance Program from Syngenta. This program, which guarantees at least 90 percent control of active red imported fire ant mounds, recommends making at least two broadcast applications of Advion® fire ant bait four to six months apart, at a rate of 1.5 lbs. per acre.

Faster than any other fire ant bait on the market, Advion fire ant bait can control foraging worker ants within 12 to 48 hours, and provide total colony control within 72 hours. Year-long colony control can be achieved after just two applications. Advion fire ant bait must be applied according to the SecureChoice Fire Ant Assurance Program treatment protocol to qualify for the program.

See Advion fire ant bait in action in the following video:



Even aggressive pests like red imported fire ants can be managed with the right knowledge and tools. By knowing the target pest and using proven application techniques, you can give your customers relief from the threat of red imported fire ants. For more information, visit www.SyngentaPMP.com/FireAnt.

References:

Bennett, G. W., J. M. Owens, and R. M. Corrigan. 1997. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. Advanstar Communications Inc., Cleveland, OH.

Mallis, A. 1990. Handbook of Pest Control. Franzak and Foster Co., Cleveland, OH




Photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement.

Performance assessments are based upon results or analysis of public information, field observations and/or internal Syngenta evaluations. Trials reflect treatment rates commonly recommended in the marketplace.


©2018 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Advion®, For Life Uninterrupted™, SecureChoice℠ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).


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© Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. The trademarks displayed or otherwise used herein are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company or third parties. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).