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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:17 pm 
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Location: Southeast Dallas County/Balch Springs ,TEXAS
Just thought I would let ya'll know that, weather pending, this Friday I will be taking part in a field test using Greenlight's natural fire ant bait containing Spinosad. The test will be held in East Texas on a sandy loam type soil. The professional product that is EPA and I believe OMRI labled for use in pasture as well as playgrounds is what we'll use for the test since it is on grazed pasture. Generally this has to be special ordered, but you can get it. (in fact, if your local doesn't handle, contact me, I can get it and deliver or ship it to you.) We'll conduct broadcast applications as well as mound treatements. The idea is to compare the two forms of applications. For those of us with acreage, a mound by mound application would be silly - not to mention very time consuming. So, to see the efficacy of the product when broadcast via a spreader instead, I thought a test would be in order to show ranchette owners, small scale ranchers, horse boarding facilities, etc, how effective and easy to use it is - or isn't as the test will reveal. I coordinated with Greenlight's and DOW's (the products' creator) rep and with A&M who will be providing some important aspects to the test that will give it merit. Kathe Kitchens will be there to help document the test and take photos. I'll keep you all abreast here as to the results and then look for a full detail article in an upcoming issue of the Dirt next spring.


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 Post subject: Test Completed
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:38 pm 
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Well, it was a little blustery, but the test went on. We created 16 1/4 acre plots over the 20 acres or so of the owner's property. On those, we marked and counted the active fire ant mounds. Then, we treated the plots with Conserve fire ant bait. Some of the plots were treated on a mound by mound application, some at 3 lbs per acre and the most heavily infested at 5 lbs per acre rates.

Those ants were sure hungry as they began picking up bait almost as fast as we scattered it! It is an oily protein coating and that is what they like best - and you thought it was your hand, foot, arm, etc.. they liked best! :lol:

We'll go back and check the status of things a time or two before the cold weather sets in but the real results will be to see how much of a reduction is present next spring when they become active again.

The recomendation is to treat about 3 times a year. Fall, Spring and early summer. Kind of like an organic fertilizer schedule. Depending on the rate used, you are talking about anywhere from about $21 - $42 an acre. So, a small say 20 acre farm can be treated for less than $2000 a year using a median cost/acre of $30.

The product also comes in homeowner sizes of 3# and a 1# cannister. Same product, different label. I like this product because your pyramid ants won't pick it up. So you are controlling fire ants without decreasing native ant populations. That is a plus.

And the cool part is, OMRI has approved it for use on production and livestock pastures. Heck, even my chickens like it. :lol:

I'll keep posting updates and be happy to field any questions ya'll might have. Also, any experience you may have run across using this product. Fire ants are one of our worst pests. I'm very excited to have a tool to control them with that is safe and effective.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:04 pm 
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Thanks for doing this; I'm as interested as anyone in the results.
You mentioned that your chickens like it, mine do to. How do you prevent them from eating it? When used as a mound treatment I can cover the material up for a while. I haven't thought of how to broadcast it without them picking it up.
What about pressure from adjacent areas? Any plans to see how that might affect the test or the results?
Is the manufacture interested in selling larger quantities that would reduce the price? Is this stuff patent protected?
Thanks,
Tony M


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 Post subject: To Tony M
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:17 pm 
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Hi Tony, next week we'll be going to the location just to do a preliminary follow up on mound counts. Then, we'll go back the first week of Nov. After that, the ants will be less active and we may wait till spring to do a follow up.

The acreage next door to this customer is actually organic and doesn't seem to have the pressure from the fire ants - gee wonder why - much to the amazement of this newbie. He's learning and courious. Grew up the old chemical way, but seems open to new things.

How much larger an area would you be looking to treat? As far as I know 25# is the largest size packaging avail at this time. If this test goes well, and I suspect it will, and there is a greater demand for larger packages, perhaps the Green light guys will consider something. If there were a multiple order placed I am sure I can get a bit of a reduction in cost and would pass that on to my customers.

As for the chickens, I don't see a solution here. They are attracted to the bait contents, just as the ants are. I do like you do when mound treating, cover the area for a few days with a milk crate or something that won't disturb the mound. Sorry no help there. Other than pen or tractor the chickens away from the treated area for a few days afterwards. I have lots of ducks, too though and that would not be feasible here.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:28 pm 
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I have a creek on two sides of my 10-acre property and the road on the third. Not necessarily ant blocks but they do a good job of reducing the amount of in migration from neighboring ants. So, I think if I can get my property clear it should stay relatively free from ants. I keep hearing about some of the compost teas but if they haven't worked in my veggie garden to eliminate ants, I don't want to spend the time doing the whole property.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:40 pm 
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Even if they invented something that would eliminate all fire ants from your property TODAY - tomorrow, a new queen can fly in and start a new colony. The thing I try to remind everyone of, is that you will have to retreat - and retreat - not to be confused with retreating as in running away from a fire ant mound as half of it crawls up your leg. :shock:

But, if we are retreating with a safe product that doesn't affect the natives and the soil, at least we are being responsible in our control methods. 10 acres should run you about the cost of one bag ($212) if you put it out at the 2.5 lbs/acre rate. Treating now will help reduce the carry over to the spring and then I do recommend you treat again in the spring for the new arrivals. If you keep them down to a minimum, you won't need to apply such heavy rates like we did at this guy's place. I mean I have never seen so many fire ants in one place! Every single pile of manure we turned over that was relatively fresh was a mound. We had 72 mounds - all active - in one 1/4 acre plot! So much for a picnic there!

Let me know if you want to try this stuff. I can usually get it delivered to you in about a week. Weather conditions are favorable when no rain is predicted in 72 hours after application and apply early eve when ants are most active - and the chickens are roosting :wink: . We want crispy bait, not soggy.


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 Post subject: November checkup
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:08 pm 
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You mentioned you would check the first week of November. Do you have an update?

Russ


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 Post subject: Update
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:22 pm 
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Yes, we went out and the results were mixed - inconsistent at best. Some areas had considerable reductions, others about the same. It may be that this property was so infested that the broadcast rate should be higher than the label or due to the fact that cattle graze - and therefore eliminate - on the area, constantly providing fresh new food crops for fire ants, the bait was not able to keep up as much as i would have liked to see. The Greenlight rep was pretty frustrated, but the gal from A&M said you can put it down 10 times and get 10 different results. She'll be helping put the data together and I'll probably put an article in the DD newsletter next year.

I think DOW is going to pop for another round in the spring - which means we'll be comparing the seasonal factor in addition to the broadcast versus mound treatement.

The mound by mound treatment in areas where there weren't cattle, seemed to be responding pretty well. But this guy's place is in poor fertility - going to work on that with him soon I hope. That in and of itself, will help bring back more pyramid ants - which we did see some of on one pasture, but very few on the other.

I still prefer the bait to the drenches, and of course to anything toxic. But before we go and spend $$$ for multi acres, I want to see more results.


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 Post subject: fire ants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:41 am 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
I don't know if this means anything but we have
had some fire ants and some regular ants in the
wrong area. I half heartedly tried some DE and
orange oil, and Basic H with little results. One day
I was on the tractor and scooped up a bucket of
compost and dumped it on top of the mounds. It
covered an area about 4 to 5 ft across and was
about 6 inches deep. Nothing has moved in the
area for about 1 year. I have since tried it on two
other areas and so far nothing is moving or poped
up next to the area.
It will be interesting to see what happens when it rains.
Robert D Bard


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 Post subject: fire ants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:02 am 
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Location: Plano & land at Dodd City,TEXAS
What is 'rain'?

_________________
Plano Patty & Jim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:04 pm 
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Location: McKinney,TEXAS
Call California


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