It the latest effort to rid America of the Fire ants, scientist are introducing a new weapon. Phroid flies that come from Brazil are being used in Texas to combat this important and costly pest. Fire ants are originally from that region so it stands to reason to bring a natural enemy in that may be more productive than many of our treatments have been.
“It’s a tool. They’re not going to completely wipe out the fire ant, but it’s a way to control their population,” said Scott Ludwig, an integrated pest management specialist with Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service in Overton, in East Texas.
Fire ants do over a billion dollars in damage every year and cause health risks by their bites and stings. This new approach lets nature fight back. The flies dive bomb the ants and lay their eggs inside. The larvae grow; eat out the brain and eventually the head drops off and the ant dies. During the time the larvae is doing his brain ectomy, the ant wanders aimlessly like a ‘zombie’ with no direction.
Although no one is saying this will completely eradicate the Fire ant population it may have promise. Maybe the whole reason the ants got on that boat in the first place was to avoid the Phroid flies so it may be worth a shot.