Red imported fire ants may finally get their due while farmers, ranchers and the environment get the advantage with new Justice fire ant bait.

The Environmental Protection Agency and 15 states recently registered Justice fire ant bait for individual mound treatments on rangeland and permanent pastures, and in non-crop areas such as farmsteads, corrals and around livestock buildings.

Manufactured by Dow AgroSciences, Justice fire ant bait is based on an entirely new class of chemistry in the battle against fire ants. The active ingredient in Justice is spinosad, derived from the fermentation of a naturally occurring soil bacterium. It offers the efficacy associated with synthetic insecticides and the environmental characteristics generally associated with biological products.

Spinosad earned the 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award as technology that reduced negative impacts on human health and the environment, relative to the current state-of-the art.

An odorless, ready-to-use product, Justice carries the active ingredient on a corn grit bait. The product is quick and effective in the control of ants, yet the active ingredient has demonstrated little or no impact on most beneficial insects. Additionally, EPA has classified spinosad as "slightly toxic" to "practically non-toxic" to birds.

As a bait, Justice is spread near mounds where worker ants pick it up, carry it back into the mound, and feed it to the entire colony, including the queen. typically, dead fire ants may be observed within 24 hours of application. Studies have shown that the entire colony, including the queen, can be eliminated in three to 14 days, depending on environmental conditions.

Applications are effective any time that fire ants are actively foraging - usually when temperatures are more than 60 degrees F. Even in hot weather, ants may forage early in the morning and in the evening.

Following application of Justice fire ant bait, ants in a treated area may be controlled for up to two months. Retreatment may be required if a new queen invades the treated area and establishes a colony.

The active ingredient in Justice is not persistent or mobile in the environment. It's broken down to its basic elements by sunlight and soil microbes, and it binds to soil particles to prevent leaching into groundwater.

There are no grazing restrictions for Justice fire ant bait. It is not a restricted use pesticide. Justice carries only a "caution" label, the lowest human hazard signal word.

For more information on Justice fire ant bait, contact the Dow AgroSciences Customer Information Center at 800-263-1196.