The Louisiana Cooperative Extension program on fire ants is centered around the management of this invasive pest on a community or area-wide management system.
Built around the use of insect growth regulator baits (IGR baits) as a key strategy in controlling fire ants, programs have been set up and demonstrated in subdivisions, on campuses and with various agricultural systems. Posters (see links) have helped publicize programs initiated in citrus groves, poultry farms and pastures.
The LSU campus has used an IGR bait management approach for the past year and a half. Subdivisions around the state are implementing the program and several poultry farmers have reduced both stress on the chickens and reduced the loss of time, feed and electrical equipment. Some cattle farmers have used the program to reduce fire ant problems in calving areas or in pastures cut for hay. In order to be economical and provide effective management of the fire ants, the pasture program was set up to determine if the IGR baits could be effectively mixed with fertilizer and applied providing effective control. The acceptance of the program is widespread and growing.
The football cards (see link) are a means of getting the information to the general public. We have joined with the LSU Athletic Department to feature information on the fire ant program as an add-on to athletic schedules. These cards are distributed through the state in libraries, visitor centers, doctors’ offices, at meetings, garden clinics and other information centers.