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NRA approves more pesticides to fight Fire Ants

NRA 01/9 10 September 2001

The successful eradication of Queensland's fire ant menace is closer following the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRA) decision to issue emergency permits for the use of three new ant bait products.

The NRA's Executive Manager of Registration, Peter Raphael, believes that the likely success of plans to rid Queensland of fire ants is greatly improved by the ability to employ a range of pesticides on rotation in the eradication program.

'Because fire ants are a new problem for Australia, no pesticide products have been registered with the NRA to deal with them,' Mr Raphael said.

'Fortunately, a number of useful pesticide products were known to have been approved to treat the pest in other countries, notably the US.'

'The NRA's emergency permits allow the Queensland Department of Primary Industries to access those chemicals that are seen as the more effective in fire ant control,' he said.

'While the products are not registered with the NRA, their active ingredients are present in a number of products that are registered with us,' Mr Raphael said.

'We were therefore able to draw on available scientific data on these chemicals along with some new information from the suppliers to quickly make our assessment of the permit applications,' Mr Raphael said.

'We concluded that the chemical products will be safe and effective if used according to the permit directions,' he said.

'The pesticides are applied as a bait which is carried back to the nest by worker ants and fed to the queen and larvae. Effects on the colony treated with the baits are expected 6 to 8 weeks after application,' Mr Raphael said.

Two of the new products use the active ingredient, pyriproxyfen, while s-methoprene is the active ingredient in the third.

The Queensland Department of Primary Industries will provide training to staff on the safe and effective application of the baits.