Fipronil – Effect on Native Ants

In solving garden problems, I am often reminded that applying pesticides can affect non-target creatures as well as the pest you’re trying to control.

I was curious to know more about the effect of fipronil (Over ‘n’ Out) fire ant bait on native ants and ground bees. University of Georgia entomologist Wayne Gardner had some interesting information:

“Based upon a limited study that we did last year, we found no effect on native ant species. In fact, we found no impacts on coleopterans and other common arthropod inhabitants of these
specific plots.

“We were a bit amazed, but perhaps the spatial occurrence of the fipronil residue in the soil is not in concert with the foraging and other behavior of the natives that we were recovering.

“When you get that kind of control with a material, it makes us think the area has been nuked, right? Anyway, I couldn’t find an effect on native ants in our limited testing.

“What I do like is that you get season-long control, thus preventing applications [of other insecticides] every time a gardener goes out to mow (if fipronil is applied as directed).

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