Fire Ants

Fire ants have become one of the worst threats for many states around the country.. They will attack a just born calf or pipping eggs. Before one can realize calves are being born or eggs are hatching, fire ants can kill livestock.  This good information is supplied with permission,  by Bart M. Drees of Texas A&M University.

Imported fire ants can cause problems on poultry farms by attacking chickens and foraging on broken eggs. Fire ant stings cause blemishes that can reduce the quality of poultry. For management of imported fire ants in and around poultry houses, you should select programs that use, where applicable, a combination of non-chemical and chemical methods that are effective, economical and least harmful to the environment. For poultry houses and egg farms, use a combination of the following suggestions:

            1.Remove food sources (trash, piled feed, broken eggs and dead chickens) and potential ant nesting sites (pieces of lumber, old equipment and manure piles).

            2. Remove weeds and grass from around poultry houses with mowers or herbicides.

            3. Indoors, treat surfaces with a registered contact insecticide product if ants are nesting inside poultry houses if necessary. Note: Although some products like ones containing permethrin (e.g. Y-Tex® GuardStar®)   are registered specifically for control of fire ants in poultry houses, other products, like those containing cyfluthrin, dichlorvos, and  lamba-cyuhalothrin, are more generally registered for “crawling pests”-including ants. Read the poultry section of labels for additional precautions. Do not allow insecticides to come into contact with feed or water supplies.

            4. If fire ants are foraging inside the poultry house from ant mounds located outdoors, a chemical barrier can be established around the outside of the building with products registered for that usage site (e.g., lambda-cyhalothrin).

            5. On grounds surrounding the buildings, use the Two-Step Method (see Texas Cooperative Extension publications B-6043, L-5070 or SP-196 posted on Conventionally- formulated bait products, such as abamectin (Clinch), fenoxycarb (Logic®), hydramethylnon (Amdro® or Amdro® Pro), pyriproxifen (Distance®), s-methoprene (Extinguish) or hydramethylnon plus methoprene (Extinguish Plus) can be broadcast-applied outside the poultry house. Do not allow chickens access to fire ant bait or bait-treated areas. Using faster-acting insecticides, treat individual fire ant mounds that are an immediate threat or escape the bait treatment using a dust (e.g., Orthene® ), granular, drench or bait formulated product registered for this use on these turfgrass areas.

            The steps above can be adapted to broiler houses, provided the products used are registered for this site. Because the broilers roam freely in the houses, care must be taken to avoid contact of chickens with insecticides by confining treatments to the outside of the broiler house (see Step 5 above).

            The best method is to implement Step 5 around poultry houses and maintain control there with one or two broadcast applied bait applications per year. With ants controlled outside, there will be fewer ants to be attracted to food sources indoors.




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