Eddie D. White, Merrill, Thomas A., Pollet, Dale K. | 4/26/2005 8:28:24 PM
Fire ants are more than a nuisance to poultry growers. They can bring serious economic consequences to those operations, according to LSU AgCenter experts.
Tests of a variety of products that may help reduce the economic threats have been conducted over the past 18 months. Those will be discussed at a meeting Oct. 25 in Jonesboro.
"We’ve been cooperating with poultry growers in the area to test a variety of ways to control fire ants and keep them out of poultry houses," said LSU AgCenter county agent Eddie White, who works in Jackson Parish.
White explains that the ants can infest a poultry house and keep birds from reaching feeders and waterers – thus keeping birds from growing and causing overcrowding in portions of the house as chickens flocked to areas that weren’t infested by ants. "They also posed a threat to workers, since they would cover any birds that died and that, in turn, would lead to bites on the people trying to remove dead birds," he said.
The Oct. 25 meeting at Melba’s Restaurant in Jonesboro is open to any poultry growers or others who are interested in learning about the fire ant control demonstrations conducted in cooperation with area poultry producers, White says. It will begin at 10 a.m. and will include reports from White, LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dale Pollet, poultry growers who cooperated in the tests and representatives of companies that manufactured the products that were tested to control fire ants.
"Initially, the focus was to rid the houses of ants as soon as possible to alleviate the problem," Pollet explained of the fire ant control methods tested. "But we also wanted to achieve long-term control of the ants."
In these tests, each poultry house was treated along its perimeter with a product to kill existing ant populations within 10 feet of the house. Then, a growth-regulating product was broadcast over the entire acreage of the farm to achieve long-term control.
To remind producers attending the meeting about taking appropriate precautions, LSU AgCenter poultry specialist Dr. Theresia Lavergne warns that people are the No. 1 means of transferring diseases.
As a result, White says poultry producers who attend this meeting are urged to follow biosecurity precautions, such as wearing clothes they don't ordinarily wear on the farm to the meeting, showering before and after the meeting and changing clothes before returning to work on the farm.
For more information on the meeting, which will include a sponsored lunch, contact White at (318) 259-5690 or firstname.lastname@example.org.