Local Politics

Bill would create fire ant study

Posted April 15, 2009

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— A bill introduced in North Carolina General Assembly could lead to a new study on controlling the fire ant population.

House bill 513 would create a legislative study committee on the impact and control of the insects.

In October 2007, a quarantine was put into effect in some counties to contain the ants. The quarantine now includes portions or entire areas of 67 counties, including Wake.

“This is the time of the year that they get active,” said Dr. Charles Apperson, a North Carolina State University entomology professor.

The fire ant quarantine area Legislators consider fire ant study

Apperson said fire ants are spreading quickly. Ten years ago, there were only a few hills in Wake County.

“During the big building boom that went on in Wake County, we had a lot of ants imported (through the soil),” Apperson said.

Items such as hay bales and earth-moving equipment containing soil were moved to areas outside of the quarantined, Apperson said.

Right now, Apperson said there is no way to contain the insects on a large scale. On a small scale, individual homeowners, especially parents, wage war every day with these pests.

Wanda Jackson said her children battle with the ants often. The bites hurt and cause a “few tears," she said.

“Luckily our kids aren’t allergic to them,” Jackson said.

Kelly Marin found out she was allergic to the ants when one bit her foot.

“Within about 30 seconds my whole foot was swollen and puffed out,” Marin said.

Apperson estimates the entire state will be under a fire ant quarantine within the next 20 years.

For individual homeowners who want to get rid of fire ants, Apperson recommends toxic baits.

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  • NCSULandscaper Apr 16, 2009

    "This is a prime example of the problem....Is it any wonder that we have problems when a politician of any party actually thinks that this is a problem that government at any level should be concerning itself with? THEY"RE ANTS! It's not a sci-fi movie, it's ANTS. So these ants bite....THEY"RE ANTS! We as citizens deal with termites, yellow jackets, bees, wasps, skunks, bobcats, bears, coyotes, but let's burn some taxpayer money on a study of the dangers posed by ANTS! We can deal with it by ourselves, we don't need any government help, and anyone who can't is an idiot and is part of the problem anyway!"

    Have you ever been around a fire any mound? I would rather be stung by anything other then a fire ant. They CAN kill a person and its nothing to play around with. They way a fire ant works is they will first cover you, then they let out a pheromone that triggers them to bite all at once.

  • NCSULandscaper Apr 16, 2009

    there already is a tax pretty much charged especially to nursery producers in quarantined areas. There are many great chemicals on the market that work on fire ants, however they are not labeled for residential use, only agricultural. And soon, even the labeled residential chemicals will be banned, because a lot of people cant be bothered to read a label and apply at the correct dose. That's why chemicals are banned, not because they destroy the environment

  • ladyblue Apr 16, 2009

    beachboater I was thinking the same thing. They know how they get here so put a tax on the dirt hauling (most legislatures usually find that as a solution). They are constantly moving around in my sons yard. Get rid of one pile and they move somewhere else alsmost in 24 hours.

  • radixlecti Apr 16, 2009

    They can come study them in my yard.... I'll even offer them up for clinical trials if they have them......

  • beachboater Apr 16, 2009

    ***NEWSFLASH***

    Why pay for a study? Texas has already done it for us for FREE.

    http://fireant.tamu.edu/

    That wouldn't work. They studied the Texas Fire Ant. We need a study of the North Carolina Fire Ant.

    BTW, "AMDRO" with the black lid (as compared to the green it) works great on fire ants if you get to them early. I think that is what NSCU recommends.

  • SalemWWX Apr 16, 2009

    This is a prime example of the problem....Is it any wonder that we have problems when a politician of any party actually thinks that this is a problem that government at any level should be concerning itself with? THEY"RE ANTS! It's not a sci-fi movie, it's ANTS. So these ants bite....THEY"RE ANTS! We as citizens deal with termites, yellow jackets, bees, wasps, skunks, bobcats, bears, coyotes, but let's burn some taxpayer money on a study of the dangers posed by ANTS! We can deal with it by ourselves, we don't need any government help, and anyone who can't is an idiot and is part of the problem anyway!

    OK....I feel better now.....

  • busyb97 Apr 16, 2009

    "How much money will we waste studying a problem that all the states to our South and Southwest have already dealt with?"

    -just what I was thinking! One headline reads our state has a budget shortfall and is taking money from state trust funds, then you read this?? Seriously folks...get a clue! The study won't accomplish a whole lot- except to confirm that they are here to stay. NC residents will learn how to deal with them as we do any other 'pest'. Now if we can figure out how to deal with 'political pests'. :-)

  • news4u Apr 16, 2009

    ***NEWSFLASH***

    Why pay for a study? Texas has already done it for us for FREE.

    http://fireant.tamu.edu/

  • likemenow Apr 16, 2009

    How much money will we waste studying a problem that all the states to our South and Southwest have already dealt with?

  • Justin T. Apr 16, 2009

    A friend just recommended a guaranteed fire ant bait: Mix sugar and powdered muriatic acid 50/50. Put in a small container near the ants with the lid cracked and wait.

    Apparently the muriatic acid dissolves their exoskeleton slowly enough to allow the whole colony to chow down on the poison before they figure out they're in trouble. We'll see.

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