Little fire ant treatment options

open areas : forested / densely wooded areas : residential areas : agricultural / livestock areas : near open water / rivers /streams : conservation areas

Little fire ant - open area

The Hawai'i Ant Lab has many resources (as pdfs) to help with managing little fire ants, including:

SPREP commissioned Cas Vanderwoude to produce a treatment plan for little fire ants in Tahiti, which has full instructions on managing little fire ants. The information here has been adapted from there and from management activities elsewhere.

Bait

Granular bait

  • Maxforce Complete (hydramethylnon 10 g/kg; protein based granular matrix)
  • Application rate 2 kg/ha

Paste Bait

  • Xstinguish (fipronil 0.1 g/kg with a lipid and protein base)
  • Application rate 3.25 kg/ha

Timing

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours

Application method

Granular bait

Paste bait

Environmental /social considerations

  • Xstinguish is toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Granular bait may be eaten by domestic or stock animals – pen animals away from treatment area or refrain from broadcasting bait where stock /domestic animals roam (See Agricultural/ livestock area for alternatives)
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that children are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

Granular bait

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1 kg of bait
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers

Paste bait

  • Caulking gun
  • Knife
  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Googles or glasses (KiluKilu method)

Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Hawai'i Ant Lab. Little fire ant fact sheet 2: a householder's guide to managing little fire ants around the home. Please note that Hawai'i Ant Lab periodically updates their fact sheets, go to the Hawai'i Ant Lab website to check for updated versions

Hawai'i Ant Lab. Little fire ant fact sheet 4: An improved spreader for ant baits: How to modify a cheap fertilizer spreader so it works more effectively. Please note that Hawai'i Ant Lab periodically updates their fact sheets, go to the Hawai'i Ant Lab website to check for updated versions

Hawai'i Ant Lab. Little fire ant fact sheet 8: Mixing HAL gel baits for control of little fire ants. Please note that Hawai'i Ant Lab periodically updates their fact sheets, go to the Hawai'i Ant Lab website to check for updated versions

Vanderwoude. 2007. Little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in Port Vila: report to Secretatiat of the Pacific Community on activities 4-14th October 2007, and recommendations for future management. Unpublished report to Secretariat of the Pacific Community, VCL New Zealand

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Little fire ant - forested area

The Hawai'i Ant Lab has many resources (as pdfs) to help with managing little fire ants, including:

SPREP commissioned Cas Vanderwoude to produce a treatment plan for little fire ants in Tahiti, which has full instructions on managing little fire ants. The information here has been adapted from there and from management activities elsewhere.

Bait

Granular bait

Amdro (hydramethylnon 8.8 g/kg in a corn grit and vegetable oil matrix)
OR
Probait (hydramethylnon 7.3 g/kg in a corn grit and vegetable oil matrix)
OR
Maxforce complete (hydramethylnon 10 g/kg in a corn grit and vegetable oil matrix)
OR
Advion (indoxacarb 4.5 g/kg in a corn grit and vegetable oil matrix)
OR
Maxforce FC (fipronil 0.045 g/kg in a corn grit and vegetable oil matrix)
OR
Siesta (Metflumizone 6.3 g/kg in a corn grit and vegetable oil matrix)

Gel Bait

The gel bait matrix is a homemade gel made from a mixture of water, vegetable oil and smooth peanut butter to which an emulsifier (xantham gum) is added. The matrix is mixed with a paint stirrer attached to an electric drill until all the ingredients combine to a uniform colour and ketchup-like texture

Provaunt/Avaunt (indoxacarb 6.0 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)
OR
Termidor (fipronil 0.5 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)
OR
Tango (S-methoprene 51 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)
OR
Boric acid (boric acid 20 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)

Application rate

Granular Bait

  • 2 kg/ha

Gel bait

  • 10 kg/ha

Timing

  • Applied 11 times in 12 months
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 12 hours

Application method

Granular bait

  • The granular bait is applied using either a modified manual spreader or a motorised blower
  • Spreader modifications
    • The granular bait was found to be too light to feed through spreaders evenly
    • To resolve this issue, the agitator (an orange plastic “T” shaped device in the bottom of the hopper) is pulled out
    • A small cable tie is wrapped around the stem of the agitator and tightened as much as possible
    • The loose end of the cable tie is cut down so that 25 mm or so was left sticking out. As the agitator turns the free end of the cable tie turns with it and assists the bait flow evenly through the spreader

Gel bait

  • The gel bait is applied using either high quality garden spray bottles
  • Alternatively use pump sprayers that have had the wand tips modified by removing the spray head and crimping the metal delivery tube until it delivers a thin spray of bait

Environmental /social considerations

  • Indoxocarb is moderately toxic to fish, crustaceans (e.g. crabs) and birds - enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Fipronil is toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • S-methoprene may be applied near the water’s edge, but not directly to water
  • Equipment required

Equipment required

Granular bait

  • Manual spreader
  • Cable tie
  • Knife
  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks

Gel bait

  • High quality garden spray bottle or pump action garden spray with wand attachment (modified)

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks
  • Hat and eye protection

 Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the toxicant
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Hawai'i Ant Lab. Little fire ant fact sheet 8: Mixing HAL gel baits for control of little fire ants. Please note that Hawai'i Ant Lab periodically updates their fact sheets, go to the Hawai'i Ant Lab website to check for updated versions

Vanderwoude, Nadeau. 2009. Application methods for paste bait formulations in control of ants in arboreal situations. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 41: 113-119 DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/14460

Vanderwoude, Onuma, Reimer. 2010. Eradicating Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Maui, Hawaii: the use of combination treatments to control an arboreal invasive ant. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 42: 23-31 DOI: http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/19914

Vanderwoude. 2013. Considerations for eradication, containment and long-term monitoring of little fire ants in Tahiti. Report to SPREP

An alternative method was employed successfully in the treatment of little fire ants in forested areas of French Polynesia. Granular bait was broadcast on the forest floor, whilst a homemade gel bait was distributed through the foliage, trees and on other vertical habitats such as buildings and posts. 

Vanderwoude. 2014. Managing the impacts of little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in French Polynesia. SPREP.

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Little fire ant - residential area

The Hawai'i Ant Lab has many resources (as pdfs) to help with managing little fire ants, including:

SPREP commissioned Cas Vanderwoude to produce a treatment plan for little fire ants in Tahiti, which has full instructions on managing little fire ants. The information here has been adapted from there and from management activities elsewhere.

Option A) used in Queensland, Australia

Bait

Granular bait

  • Campaign (hydramethylnon 7.3 g/kg in a corn grit and soy oil granular matrix)
  • Application rate 5 kg/ha
  • Engage + (S-methoprene 5 g/kg in a corn grit and soy oil granular matrix) S-methoprene is only used in wet areas, or areas close to water
  • Application rate 5 kg/ha

Timing

  • Do not apply bait during rainy weather or when rain is expected within 6 hours

Application method

Environmental /social considerations

  • Campaign is moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Engage + may be used within 5 m of water
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and children and domestic animals are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

Granular bait

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1kg of bait
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders/blowers
  • Mechanical blower(s)
  • Petrol
  • 2-stroke oil

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Face mask
  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Lach, Barker. 2013. Assessing the effectiveness of tramp ant projects to reduce impacts on biodiversity. A report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities

Further information was provided by Christine Horlock, A/Manager Programme Support, Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre, DAF, christine.horlock@daf.qld.gov.au

Option B) Hawaii

The Hawai'i Ant Lab has many resources (as pdfs) to help with managing little fire ants, including:

SPREP commissioned Cas Vanderwoude to produce a treatment plan for little fire ants in Tahiti, which has full instructions on managing little fire ants. The information here has been adapted from there and from management activities elsewhere.

Bait

The gel bait matrix is a homemade gel made from a mixture of water, vegetable oil and smooth peanut butter to which an emulsifier (xantham gum) is added. The matrix is mixed with a paint stirrer attached to an electric drill until all the ingredients combine to a uniform colour and ketchup-like texture. 

Provaunt/Avaunt (Indoxacarb 6.0 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)
OR
Termidor (Fipronil 0.5 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)
OR
Tango (S-Methoprene 51 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)
OR
Boric acid (Boric acid 20 g/kg; homemade lipid and protein gel matrix)

Application Rate

10 kg/ha (approximate and dependent on distribution of vertical habitat)

Timing

applied 11 times in 12 months

Application method

The gel bait is applied using either high quality garden spray bottles or with pump sprayers that have had the wand tips modified  by removing the spray head and crimping the metal delivery tube until it delivers a thin spray of bait.

Environmental /social considerations

  • Indoxocarb is moderately toxic to fish, Crustacea (e.g. crabs) and birds - enforce 5m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Fipronil is toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • S-Methoprene may be applied near the water’s edge, but not directly to water
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 12 hours

Equipment required

  • High quality garden spray bottle or pump action garden spray with wand attachment (modified)

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks
  • Hat and eye protection

Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the toxicant
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Hawai'i Ant Lab. Little fire ant fact sheet 2: a householder's guide to managing little fire ants around the home. Please note that Hawai'i Ant Lab periodically updates their fact sheets, go to the Hawai'i Ant Lab website to check for updated versions

Hawai'i Ant Lab. Little fire ant fact sheet 8: Mixing HAL gel baits for control of little fire ants. Please note that Hawai'i Ant Lab periodically updates their fact sheets, go to the Hawai'i Ant Lab website to check for updated versions

Sullivan. 2000. Environmental fate of pyriproxyfen. Report for Department of Pesticide Regulation California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Monitoring Branch

Vanderwoude. 2014. Managing the impacts of little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in French Polynesia. SPREP

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Little fire ant – agricultural / livestock area

The Hawai'i Ant Lab has many resources (as pdfs) to help with managing little fire ants, including:

SPREP commissioned Cas Vanderwoude to produce a treatment plan for little fire ants in Tahiti, which has full instructions on managing little fire ants. The information here has been adapted from there and from management activities elsewhere.

Bait

Granular bait

  • Esteem (pyriproxyfen 5 g/kg corn grit carrier) crop areas
  • 2 kg/ha

Paste bait

  • Xstinguish (fipronil 0. 1 g/kg with a lipid and protein base)
  • Application rate 3.25 kg/ha

Targeted Insecticide

  • ATTRATHOR (fipronil 0.26 g/L (concentrate) diluted at a rate of 10 ml of concentrate to in 1 L of water)
  • NOTE: This product HAS NOT been tested on little fire ants. However, it may provide an alternative to granular and paste baits in areas where stock cannot be moved before treatment

Application method

Granular bait

Paste bait

  • This bait is sold in either a 100 g syringe or in larger, 325 g cartridges, which require a caulking gun to apply them
  • Because this bait needs to be spread over low foliage using the KiluKilu technique, the 325 g cartridges are recommended
  • KiluKilu technique involves treating lower foliage by holding the trigger of the caulking gun open whilst simultaneously swinging the gun. This results in the foliage being peppered with small blobs of Xstinguish
  • Taller foliage should be climbed in order to distribute bait
  • This bait has a tendency to dry out and fall to the ground. For this reason it is advisable to remove stock from the treatment area before treatment

Targeted insecticide

  • NOTE. This product HAS NOT been tested on LFA. However, it may provide an alternative to granular and paste baits in areas where stock cannot be moved before treatment
  • ATTRATHOR is sold as a concentrate, which is diluted at a rate of 10 ml concentrate in 1 L of water in a garden spray bottle
  • The solution is sprayed in an approximately 15cm line at 3m intervals at heights greater than 1.5 m
  • The solution may be used inside animal pens, where paste bait is likely to dry out, fall on the ground and become accessible to stock animals
  • The solution is particularly effective when sprayed directly on to on ant foraging trails

Environmental /social considerations

  • Esteem (pyriproxyfen 5 g/kg in a corn grit matrix) may be used in crop areas
  • The Environmental Monitoring and Pest Management Branch of the US Department of Pesticide Regulation publication on the Environmental Fate of Pyriproxyfen describes pyriproxyfen as having low or very low toxicity to mammals (rats and rabbits). However it is debatable whether Esteem granules should be spread where stock might ingest them
  • Similarly, baits used in other environments (such as Xstinguish (see LFA Open Area section), or the Indoxocarb / smooth peanut butter paste spray (see LFA Forested Area section) are both likely to dry out rapidly and fall to the ground where they may be consumed by stock. For this reason, it is advised that stock are removed from the area before treatment
  • Enforce a 42 day withholding period on harvesting vegetables or fruit grown in treatment areas treated with fipronil based products
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours
  • Granular bait may be eaten by domestic or stock animals – pen animals away from treatment area or refrain from broadcasting bait where stock / domestic animals roam
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that children are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

Granular bait

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1 kg of bait
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers.

Paste bait

  • Caulking gun
  • Knife
  • Nitrile or thick gardening gloves

Targeted Insecticide

  • Garden spray bottle
  • Water supply
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Paper mask

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Paper masks
  • Googles or glasses (KiluKilu method)

Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Burne, Barbieri, Gruber. 2015. Management Plan Atafu, Tokelau. Pacific Biosecurity Management Plan

Sullivan. 2000. Environmental fate of pyriproxyfen. Report for Department of Pesticide Regulation California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Monitoring Branch

Vanderwoude. 2007. Little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in Port Vila: report to Secretatiat of the Pacific Community on activities 4-14th October 2007, and recommendations for future management. Unpublished report to Secretariat of the Pacific Community, VCL New Zealand

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Little fire ant – near open water

Bait

Granular bait

  • Engage + (S-methoprene 5 g/kg in a corn grit and soy oil granular matrix)
  • Application rate 5 kg/ha

Timing

  • Bait is applied monthly
  • Do not apply bait during rainy weather or when rain is expected within 6 hours

Application method

Environmental /social considerations

  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and children and domestic animals are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

Granular bait

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1 kg of bait
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders/blowers
  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Lach, Barker. 2013. Assessing the effectiveness of tramp ant projects to reduce impacts on biodiversity. A report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities

Further information was provided by Christine Horlock, A/Manager Programme Support, Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre, DAF, christine.horlock@daf.qld.gov.au 

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Little fire ant - conservation area

The Hawai'i Ant Lab has many resources (as pdfs) to help with managing little fire ants, including:

SPREP commissioned Cas Vanderwoude to produce a treatment plan for little fire ants in Tahiti, which has full instructions on managing little fire ants. The information here has been adapted from there and from management activities elsewhere.

Bait

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hydramethylnon 8.8 g/kg in a corn grit/soybean oil granule)
  • Application rate 4.9 kg/ha

Timing

  • Bait is applied twice in four months during the dry season, followed by spot treatments in remaining areas
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours

Application method

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro is moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 5 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Do not apply bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that visitors/children are kept away from or know not to touch bait

Equipment required

  • Manual spreader(s) – each spreader holds approximately 1 kg of bait
  • Multiple spreaders may be employed to speed the application process
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the MSDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait

Information Sources

Causton, Sevilla, Porter. 2005. Eradication of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), from Marchena Island, Galapagos: on the edge of success? Florida Entomologist 88(2): 159-168

content reviewed by Souad Boudjelas November 2016