Red imported fire ant treatment options

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

Please note that these treatment options are intended for places where the red imported fire ant is not yet established and widespread and therefore eradication is an option. For areas like parts of the United States, where this ant is already well established and control is the desired outcome, we recommend trying hot water treatment of fire ant mounds.

Red imported fire ant - open area

Treatment products

Liquid toxicant

  • Termidor (liquid fipronil 2.5 ml/100 L) 25-40 L injected into nest

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hyrdramethylnon 5 g/kg; in a corn grit and soybean oil matrix) around infested area
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha
  • Distance (pyriproxifen 5 g/kg) within 8 m of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha
  • Engage (S-methoprene (5 g/kg) up to edge of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha

Timing

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

Application method

Liquid toxicant

Granular bait

  • Broadcast Amdro around the mound(s) and in areas of high infestation using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Distance outside the high infestation area and within, but not exceeding 8 m of open water using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Engage from 8 m up to water’s edge using manual spreaders

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro and Distance are moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 8 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Do not apply granular 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

Liquid toxicant

  • Pressurised back pack spray with extension and modified nozzle for injection

Granular bait

  • Broadcast with manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Rubber boots
  • Overalls
  • Respirator with filters approved for fipronil

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS 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 Ben Hoffmann, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Land & Water Flagship, Ben.Hoffmann@csiro.au 

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Red imported fire ant - forested area

This species is ground nesting and is not typically found in forested areas. Any mounds found in a forested area, should first be positively identified as RIFA. If the mound does contain RIFA it should be treated in the same manner as an open area.

Red imported fire ant – residential area

Treatment products

Liquid toxicant

  • Termidor (liquid fipronil 2.5 ml/100 L) 25-40 L injected into nest

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hyrdramethylnon 5 g/kg; in a corn grit and soybean oil matrix) around infested area
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha
  • Distance (pyriproxifen 5 g/kg) within 8 m of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha
  • Engage(S-methoprene (5 g/kg) up to edge of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha

Timing

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

Application method

Liquid toxicant

Granular bait

  • Broadcast Amdro around the mound(s) and in areas of high infestation using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Distance outside the high infestation area and within, but not exceeding 8 m of open water using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Engage from 8 m up to water’s edge using manual spreaders

Environmental /social considerations

  • Amdro and Distance are moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 8 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Do not apply granular 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

Liquid toxicant

  • Pressurised back pack spray with extension and modified nozzle for injection

Granular bait

  • Broadcast with manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves
  • Rubber boots
  • Overalls
  • Respirator with filters approved for fipronil

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS 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

Wylie, Jennings, McNaught, Oakey, Harris. 2016. Eradication of two incursions of the red imported fire ant in Queensland, Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration 17(1): 22-32

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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Red imported fire ant – agricultural / livestock area

Treatment products

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hyrdramethylnon 5 g/kg; in a corn grit and soybean oil matrix) around infested area
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha
  • Distance(pyriproxifen 5 g/kg) within 8 m of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha
  • Engage (S-methoprene (5 g/kg) up to edge of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha

Liquid toxicant

  • Termidor (liquid fipronil 2.5 ml/100 L)

Timing

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

Application method

Granular bait

  • Broadcast Amdro around the mound(s) and in areas of high infestation using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Distance outside the high infestation area and within, but not exceeding 8 m of open water using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Engage from 8 m up to water’s edge using manual spreaders. May also be used in crop growing areas

Liquid toxicant

Environmental /social considerations

  • S- methoprene based products such as Engage are registered in the USA for treatment of RIFA in crop growing areas
  • These products do not kill adult ants, but sterilise the queen ultimately destroying the nest. This means that it may take some time before a reduction in RIFA numbers is observed. However, the advantage of using S- methoprene is that it has very low toxicity to mammals
  • Alternative treatments, such as hydramethylon or fipronil based products are faster acting, but require withholding periods to be imposed before crops may be safely harvested or stock grazed after treatment
  • These factors should be considered when designing a management programme
  • Stock should be removed from the affected area before baiting commences
  • Based on the advice of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority chemical review for fipronil do not graze stock or cut pasture for stock food for 14 days after application of fipronil based products (e.g. Termidor) or withhold stock from slaughter for 21 days, whichever is appropriate
  • Do not re-enter area until fipronil spray has dried
  • Do not harvest crops for 7 – 42 days after treatment with fipronil based products
  • Amdro and Distance are moderately toxic to marine/aquatic life – enforce 8 m no bait zone from high tide mark and any open water sources
  • Do not apply granular bait when rain is likely within the next 6 hours
  • Ensure all stakeholders are aware baiting is taking place and that people and animals are kept away from the treatment area and know not to touch bait

Equipment required

Liquid toxicant

Granular bait

  • Manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Personal Protective Equipment

Granular bait

  • Nitrile gloves

Liquid toxicant

  • Nitrile gloves or appropriate chemical resistant gloves
  • Rubber boots
  • Chemical resistant overalls
  • Respirator (full or half face) with filters approved for fipronil
  • Goggles or other chemical resistant eye protection

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS for the bait
  • Always wear gloves when handling bait.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking after handling bait
  • Observe withholding periods for harvesting crops or grazing stock

Information Sources

Anon. 2009. Occupational health and safety assessment of fipronil. Chemical review report for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

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

Wylie, Jennings, McNaught, Oakey, Harris. 2016. Eradication of two incursions of the red imported fire ant in Queensland, Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration 17(1): 22-32

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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Red imported fire ant – near open water

Treatment products

  • Engage (S-methoprene (5 g/kg) up to edge of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha

Timing

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

Application method

Granular bait

Environmental /social considerations

  • Do not apply granular 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

Granular bait

  • Broadcast with manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS 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

Nester. 2014. Red imported fire ant control around bodies of water. Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service

Wylie, Jennings, McNaught, Oakey, Harris. 2016. Eradication of two incursions of the red imported fire ant in Queensland, Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration 17(1): 22-32

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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Red imported fire ant – conservation area

Treatment products

Granular bait

  • Amdro (hyrdramethylnon 5 g/kg; in a corn grit and soybean oil matrix) around infested area and within 5 m of water
  • Application rate 2.5 kg/ha
  • Engage (S-methoprene (5 g/kg) up to edge of water
  • Application rate 1.6-2 kg/ha

Timing

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

Application method

Granular bait

  • Broadcast Amdro around the mound(s) and in areas of high infestation using manual spreaders
  • Broadcast Engage outside the high infestation area and up to water’s edge using manual spreaders

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 granular 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

Granular bait

  • Broadcast with manual spreaders
  • Measuring jug or scoop
  • Vehicle or wheelbarrow for carrying bait containers, PPE and spreaders

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Nitrile gloves or thick gardening gloves

Health and Safety

  • Always read the SDS 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

Drees. 2014. Managing red imported fire ants in wildlife areas. Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service

content reviewed by Josh King, University of Central Florida, November 2016