Earlier in the year I was at home and the kids were searching Netflix for something to watch online and found a video called, "Fire Ants – 3D: The Invincible Army." I thought it was probably a B-movie horror show, but much to my surprise it was a very well-made documentary. The information was informative and the photography was amazing. I know it would even be more visually stunning in 3D. Coincidently, I recently toured Wallace State Community College in Hance-ville and learned about their 3D theatre and all the great work coming out of the Advanced Visualization Center. I contacted that department to discuss the prospect of showing the video in their theatre and conducting a fire ant management workshop in concert with the video. To make a long story short, we were able to work out a free showing of this 3D documentary to be shown on May 14, 2013, at 5 p.m. The fascinating video will be followed by a presentation by Dr. Kathy Flanders, fire ant specialist from Auburn University.
The documentary stated, "For more than 80 years, Solenopsis invicta has been on a ceaseless march across the United States, racking up $6 billion every year in crop damage, equipment repair and pest control. They have conquered more than 320 million acres in 13 states and killed at least 80 people. And the invader is still on the move globally. Now, scientists are cracking the ant’s secrets to success and releasing winged assassins to hunt them down. Stunning 3D macro photography explores the secret world of the fire ant and the cutting-edge research into stopping it."
In addition to the great photography, the documentary was very informative, but did not get into the myriad of control options available to fight this pest. Flanders will add to the program by sharing her knowledge and experience in battling this pest in Alabama. The number of products available to kill fire ants is mind numbing and confusing. Flanders will talk about which ones work best in which situations and how they compare in terms of cost and effectiveness. Every year, she rates the available products and provides a printed list of how they compare against each other. She will also update us on biological control methods and their progress, and dispel some myths about home remedies. Fire ant bait products are very effective and safe when applied correctly. We will move outdoors at the end of the presentation to demonstrate proper bait application techniques for homeowners.
Tony A. Glover is a County Extension Coordinator in Cullman County.