Fire Ants - Downing our Communities with Posions

        Re: Fire Ants - Downing our Communities with Posions
        Sat, 13 Feb 1999 11:42:09 EST

Concerned Californians-

Although I don't live in Orange County, I have lived in Harrison County (Mississippi) where fire ants first arrived on a a shipload of bananas.   Fire ants are a tremendous inconvenience, but have been demonized beyond the reality of the threat they pose.  We have battled them with tons of toxic pesticides - many now banned.  Still, they made their way across the US to California!  The ONLY WAY to get a temporary reduction in a fire ant colony is to inject a pesticide into the center of an ant hill.  As I remember, that causes a maximum 20% loss, the ants scatter and create more anthills while becoming resistant to the pesticide used. Pesticides don't really work, but provide a comforting illusion to those who have the pests.  Broadcast use of pesticides does not harm them, and will most likely make them resistant, and spread.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has admitted that HOT WATER kills fire ants.  Residents and farmers should be instructed to use this method of control first. We already know that erradication is impossible, from decades of experience throughout the South. As well as our experience with other non-native pests. Consequently, one must question CDFA's motives for a multi-million dollar boondoggle of taxpayer funds for a pesticide braodcasting program in a futile quest to eliminate fire ants!  This is absent sound science,  and shows the agency to be an illogical bureaucracy that will risk untold damage to the health and environment of Californians in order to justify their current payroll.  Someone in authority needs to stand up and say "THIS EMPORER HAS NO CLOTHES!"  What a dire prophecy for mankind if we cannot learn simple lessons from our past failures and our leaders lack the courage to lead us from the brink of recreating the same failures.

I know a ten year boy who is awaiting the arrival of fire ants to Ventura County because he has a pretty good nontoxic idea for killing fire ants he'd like to try.  Maybe it's time to remove the myopic CDFA from pest control responsibilities in California and give the ten year olds a crack at the problem!  They have a better chance at making real progress in this battle because they aren't entrenched in the lateral mind set that deems a 'pesticide solution' as the only solution.

Deborah Bechtel

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