Charles McClintock, Professional Products Business Manager for Sumitomo, shares the latest information about the red imported fire ant management program.
Biosecurity Queensland is gearing up for the 2021-22 season commencing September, following a successful season in 2020-21 where over 300,000 half of Greater Brisbane and surrounds were aerially treated with fire ant bait. A number of new initiatives were launched, which co-opt the assistance of other parties in the fight against fire ants.
Over the past three seasons, the focus of the program has been the outer areas of the infestation and beyond (zone 1), which incorporated parts of Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Somerset Regional Council and Ipswich City Council, to stem the westward spread of the red imported fire ant (RIFA). The focus will now move to the outer reaches of zone 2, which includes Logan, Redland and Gold Coast council areas, as well as mopping up sporadic new and persistent existing infestations in zone 1. The situation is very dynamic with a number of suburbs added to both biosecurity zones 1 and 2 over the last couple of months, so pest managers are encouraged to regularly visit the government’s fire ant web pages.
Over the past two years, the program began the task of training professional pest managers, utility company technicians and large landholders in effective treatment of RIFA, using both direct nest injection and baiting. This season also sees further encouragement for landholders (councils, government departments, utility providers and private landholders) to self-treat with commercially available ant baits approved for use in the RIFA program.
A major initiative during the latter part of the 2020-21 season was the implementation of self-treatment by householders. Householders in certain trial suburbs were provided ant bait by Biosecurity Queensland to assess the viability of self-treatment in situations where treatment by Biosecurity Queensland may be delayed as a result of their focus on the major areas of outbreak. More than 3000 properties in Yarrabilba, Arundel, Parkwood, Pacific Pines, Maudsland and Tambourine Mountain were treated using free, small-pack bait kits provided by Biosecurity Queensland. Success of the program will be monitored over the next few months.
Sumitomo Chemical offers two bait products that are registered for re ant treatments – Distance Plus and Synergy Pro. Distance Plus, which only contains an IGR (pyriproxyfen), is ideal for use in sensitive accounts. However, due to its mode of action it can take several weeks to gain control. In contrast, Synergy Pro, with its two different food granules and two different actives (hydramethylnon and pyriproxyfen) delivers control in 1-2 weeks and would be the best option in most situations.
Both Distance Plus and Synergy Pro are available in 500 g and 4 kg packs. The 4 kg bucket is the value proposition if you are using large amounts of bait. To ensure the bait remains fresh at the time of application, the bait is packed into 4 x 1 kg vacuum packs within the bucket.
Sumitomo Chemical has been a key partner to government eradication programs of invasive ants, particularly RIFA, over the past 20 years and is proud to be the key partner in the householder self-treatment program. The RIFA program in Brisbane utilises bait products based on insect growth regulator technology including pyriproxyfen and s-methoprene. Several commercially available bait products are approved for use on RIFA. Distance Plus and Synergy are available as bulk-packaged bait for use in the RIFA program, in large packs for use by pest control professionals, or in small shaker packs for use by householders.
Charles McClintock, Professional Products Business Manager, Sumitomo Chemical Australia