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Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 10:53pm

Fire ants make a burning comeback this season

Fire ants make a burning comeback this season

POSTED: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 5:40pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 2:29pm

They're mean, they sting, and they're everywhere. The "Fire Ant" population only continues to grow each year,  so UT Tyler is creating a product to help eliminate the pests.

KETK spoke with a graduate student working on the product, Patrick Michael Rydzak, who said, "What we're doing is working on ways of designing pellets for a bait formula, that will make our virus work better at killing fire ants". The pellets will contain a unique virus that is already found at very low levels in nature, that can spread rapidly from ant to ant. Dr. Blake Bextine, Associate Biology Professor, said, We're figuring out how to make better pellets so that fire ants will come and pick up the pellets, take them down into the mound, and then our virus will spread throughout the mound" The formula is environmentally friendly, only harming fire ants.

So until the formula is complete, it's important to stay away from the pests and familiarize your family with fire ant hills. Tommy Treadwill, managing partner of Town and Country Pest Control, said,  "Fire ants make a big mound with all the entrances all the way around it. you can't see a place for them to go in". This means that those little mounds with one small opening at the top, are not home to fire ants. Their bites are extremely painful, described in comparison to a fire burn. Treadwill said, "They let a bunch of them get on your feet before they start stinging, and then somebody says bite. So they all bite at the same time". Beware, it's fire ant season.

Comments News Comments

Perhaps shouldn't criticize Neil Barton's spelling & grammar when "Neil" is spelled "Nell" and "bit" should be "bitten" in your comment.
That said, fire ants are much more than a nuisance for some of us. I'm allergic, and have wound up at urgent care for treatment. Takes the joy out of spending time outdoors. Someone needs to find a way to get rid of them, maybe with something like crop dusting.

Great reporting Kristen.
Have to say the spelling, grammar & punctuation is better than Nell Barton's.
I won't miss them when they're gone - the sooner the better.
I've gotten bit numerous times & am allergic.
I get red bumps that ooze for days.
Some bites have left scars.
UT Tyler will make $millions$ when this comes to market.
They've been working on it for a while.
I hope they're getting close to coming up with the perfect bait.
Fire ants are one part of summer I'm not looking forward to.

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