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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Imported Fire Ants
USDA Agricultural Research Services Web site on area wide suppression of fire ants.


Fire ant carrying bait particle Baits are a very effective, but expensive, method of controlling existing fire ant colonies. USDA-ARS has worked to make oil-based baits commercially available to the public. Baits do not harm wildlife because they break down in sunlight.

How they work:

  • Insecticide is dissolved in oil and absorbed on granules.

  • Granules are easily broadcasted over small and large areas.

  • Fire ants aggressively forage and return bait to the colony.

  • Fire ants feed on bait by sucking oil from granules.

  • Fire ants feed the insecticide to others by trophallaxis (an exchange of alimentary liquids).
Types of Baits:

  • Abamectin (an example is Ascend®)

  • Fenoxycarb (examples include Award®, Hi-Yield Fire Ant Bait®)

  • Hydramethylnon (examples include Amdro®, Combat Fire Ant Killer Granules®)

    • Fast acting as it kills ants in three to five weeks.

  • Methoprene (an example is Extinguish®)

    • Sterilizes reproductives.

    • Prevents larvae from developing normally.

    • Effects are slow, but control lasts for months.

  • Pyriproxyfen (examples include Distance®, Spectracide Fire Ant Bait®)

  • Spinosad (examples include Justice®, Ortho Fire Ant Killer Granules®)

Disclaimer: Mention of trade names or commercial products in this website is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Areawide Suppression of Fire Ants main menu

Last Modified: 7/28/2015
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