Finally, there is hope in the fire ant battle. Scien-tists have successfully tested a parasitic nematode that eats fire ants for lunch.
These miracle-working, microscopic worms are being marketed in Texas by a Huntsville company, Gulf Coast Biotic Technology, under the name ANTi-dote®. The company has a history of providing biological solutions that are non-toxic to the environment and don’t harm people and pets.
In field studies, fire ant activity dramatically de-creased when the parasitic nemotodes were applied to cow pastures. Fire ants are a tremendous problem for cattle ranchers, because armies of the insect attack newborn calves.
The way the nematodes in ANTidote® kill is to attach themselves to fire ants and ride into the colony. There, the worms bore into every ant in sight and eat their way out. While infected, fire ants do not sting or forage like they once did.
Afterwards, mature ne-matodes spawn and offspring infect other ants who come into the area. If the ants flee, they carry the parasite with them. Nema-todes multiply rapidly and infect mounds in the re-gion, including those in neighboring yards or pastures. ANTidote® nematodes also kill fleas and grubs in the ground. Be-cause the microscopic worms occur naturally in soil, there is no worry about upsetting the balance of nature.
ANTidote® nematodes come in a dosage that must be refrigerated. Applica-tion is easy. The organisms are mixed with water and deposited into the fire ant mounds. Farm and Ranch lands can be augmented according to the land owners needs and would have to be implemented on an annual or bi-annual basis until the bulk of the fire ants have been exterminated.
Gulf Coast Biotic Tech-nology also markets another strain of parasitic nemotodes. TERMINATE™ that kill termites and carpenter ants, two of the most destructive soil-borne insects in the world.
Both products are available at retail outlets and from Gulf Coast Biotic Technology.
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