Extension Agents Announce 2006 Fire Ant Outlook

Extension agents, university or government employees, who develop and deliver educational programs to assist people in agricultural development and environmental issues, are essential in the development and improvement of how people handle the threat of fire ants in the southern United States. Recently, Bayer Environmental Science surveyed extension agents throughout the southern states to determine the incidence and extent of treatment for fire ant related injuries, as well as treatment of infested areas.

Conducted by International Communications Research, on behalf of Bayer Environmental Science, “Extension Agent Outlook 2006” shows these experts’ view of the increasingly serious effects of fire ants on the populations of the southern United States. The most revealing findings include:

  • The vast majority, 85 percent, indicated that reported cases of fire ant stings occurred in the back or front yard of a home.
  • 76 percent of extension agents feel that the threat of fire ants is often severe.
  • The majority of those surveyed (66 percent) believe the most common age of a victim of fire ant swarms is 12 years old, on average.
  • The overwhelming majority (91 percent) of extension agents start to see fire ant activity between March and June.

In order to best protect oneself from the threat of fire ants, nearly all those surveyed (96 percent) recommend that homeowners apply or hire a professional to apply a lawn care fire ant control product to treat the affected ground or infested property. The maximum margin of error for the population surveyed is +/- 11.4 percent. Full survey results and interviews with extension agents surveyed are available upon request.

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