Saturday, October 5, 2013

Resources for fire ant control

Because fire ants have been such an economically important pest in this country, it's not surprising that a lot of research and extension resources have been developed to help manage these insects. In light of last month's tragic fire ant death, I thought it might be of interest to survey some of the different research-based information resources that are out there.

One of the best places to go for fire ant management information is's (pronounced EE-extension) fire ant management page.  Most states with fire ant experts now contribute to the resources on this site, making it a one-stop source for fire ant fighters.  If you prefer video training to lots of reading, eXtension has recorded webinars presented by fire ant experts from all over the country.  Subjects include fire ant control made easy, how to kill fire ants in sensitive locations, evaluations of different home remedies for fire ants, and protecting loved ones from fire ants.

In addition, the website serves as a collecting point for research proceedings from all the Annual Imported Fire Ant Conferences since 1984.  While this information is certainly for the dedicated reader, it's very interesting to see the original research on which most of today's fire ant control recommendations are based.

For many years one of the premier sites for fire ant control information has been the Texas A&M fire ant website. This site was developed largely under the leadership of now retired extension entomologist, Dr. Bart Drees, and has more information about fire ants than you ever thought to ask.

This site has been a repository for information from Texas' Red Imported Fire Ant Management Program, and has progress reports from this project dating back to 1998 as well as result demonstration reports from Extension researchers since 1986.  There is information about fire ant control for specific sites like organic gardens, homes and buildings, compost piles and health care facilities.

One of the most useful and comprehensive guides to fire ant control is the multistate publication on Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas.  Or if you like it simple, one of the most popular Extension publications ever is the Texas Two Step Method: Do-it-Yourself Fire Ant Control.  Need an hour of verified training for one of your technicians who needs to know about fire ant control?  Check out the Fire Ant Control Made Easy video series. Or have them sit down and learn all they need to know about fire ant baits--one of the most useful and cost-effective tactics for fire ant management--from the AgriLife Bookstore. And school districts needing to polish up their fire ant management plans might want to check out the Action Plan for Fire Ants.

Maybe you have your own favorite online fire ant control resource.  If so, tell us about it with the comment feature on this page.  There's really no excuse for not knowing a lot about fire ants with all the information out there.

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