Linda Hooper-Bui, Pollet, Dale K., Morgan, Johnny W. | 6/16/2006 2:23:47 AM
The LSU AgCenter is one of the sponsors of a field day focused on fire ant control set for June 28 in New Orleans City Park.
The event is part of the Fire Ant Surge Threat (FAST) prevention program being conducted in the Greater New Orleans area. It is intended to provide the latest information about how area residents can get involved in preventing a resurgence of the pests.
Cosponsored by the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board and Valent, the company that produces Esteem fire ant killer, the field day will begin at 9 a.m. in the Garden Study Center of the New Orleans Botanical Gardens in City Park. The events will wrap up about noon.
Dr. Linda Hooper-Bui, an LSU AgCenter entomologist who specializes in fire ant research, has been leading a research team that is monitoring the fire ant situation in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes since the floods from Hurricane Katrina receded.
"As part of the first phase of the program over the past few weeks, fire ant bait was spread throughout the public areas of the city," Hooper-Bui said of the FAST campaign, which is intended to try to keep fire ants from spreading across the city after many of them drown in the flood waters. "The next phase will involve distributing the bait to private homeowners to be spread in their neighborhoods."
Hooper-Bui said the purpose of the field day is to give residents a chance to see what the program is all about and to allow them to ask questions about the program.
The second phase of the program is about to get under way soon, and the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board’s staff will begin contacting neighborhood associations and communities to encourage the use of fire ant control products in their areas.
"We are working with the leaders of the neighborhood associations to distribute the donated products," said Dr. Claudette Reigel, the control board’s assistant director.
Hooper-Bui has received donations of Esteem, a bait made by Valent, Amdro, a bait made by Excel, and Over ‘n Out, a contact insecticide from the GardenTech Co., for use in neighborhoods in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes.
LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dale Pollet said all of the products being used are safe as long as the label instructions are followed.
"They pose no threat to kids playing in the yard or dogs or cats," Pollet said, adding, "In fact, the same ingredients used in Over ‘n Out are used in flea control."
Community leaders will be in charge of distributing the baits in their respective locales, and that should take place over the next few weeks, Hooper-Búi said.
People moving back into the two parishes who are not part of a neighborhood association or whose association no longer exists may contact either Riegel’s agency or Hooper-Bui’s office to receive free bait. The donated bait is only available to people living in those areas.
In the metropolitan New Orleans area, contact the control board by calling 311 or e-mailing NOMTCB@yahoo.com. Outside of the metropolitan New Orleans area but within the two parishes, contact the LSU AgCenter at (504) 838-1170 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hooper-Bui said her research team will continue to monitor progress of the FAST program as part of a research project. In about a year, the neighborhoods and public areas will again need to be treated to sustain the suppression of the fire ants, she stressed.