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Seaweed-based bait kills those pesky Argentine ants

By in Press Enterprise on May 19, 2017

By Mark Muckenfuss

Seaweed and ants apparently are not compatible. That’s a good thing for homeowners.

A new research study out of UC Riverside says a seaweed-based compound is effective in knocking down populations of Argentine ants by as much as 79 percent. The study has been published in Pest Management Service.

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In a news release, the researchers said an initial treatment of “hydrogel” baits, which look like liquid gel pills but have a jello-like consistency, reduced ant populations 40 percent to 68 percent after four weeks. When a second treatment was applied between weeks four and five, ant populations dropped to 61 percent to 79 percent of the original numbers.

The hyrdogels are similar to the material used in disposable diapers. Ants drink from the pellets — which carry a much lower concentration of insecticide than would typically be used — and carry it back to the nest. The slow-acting poison kills the ants in several days.

More studies on the method are planned.

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