The feisty fire ant may have met its match.
You may have come across the little beasties if you've traveled down South. The pest came to the US from Argentina some 60 years ago. It stings humans, swarms on livestock, and builds mounds that interfere with farm machinery across a 230 million acre swath of the Southern US. Past control efforts have failed. Now the USDA says it may have the answer: a chemical that interferes with the ants' normal development. Because worker ants exposed to the chemical don't mature, 80-90 percent of colonies are destroyed in a matter of months. And the new antibug juice breaks down quickly in the environment and produces no ill effects on livestock.
Stauffer Chemical Company has geared up to produce the pesticide commercially and it may be on the market as early as next year.