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Transition to Bifenthrin | National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program

Everyone has a role to play in the successful eradication of fire ants to protect our Australian lifestyle.

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program (the Program) relies on the support of industry partners such as yourself to assist in managing infestation, mitigating further spread, and ensuring the successful delivery of the 10-year eradication plan. We thank you for your input to date.

Turf farms located in fire ant biosecurity zones have a high-risk for spreading fire ants, and a recent review of results of chemical efficacy testing indicates the current chemical regime is not 100% effective in eradicating queen ants. This means there is potential for queens to be moved off-site both intra- and inter-state. 

As a result, a change to turf farmers’ chemical regimes is now necessary in an effort to mitigate this risk.

However at recent meetings with turf industry, representatives highlighted the potentially negative impacts these changes would have on turf farm production.

In response, we have submitted amendments to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for PER14317 (bifenthrin) to meet these concerns. The purpose is to make the new permit conditions better aligned with Australian turf farm practices without compromising the Program’s eradication goal. The timing of the change is dependent on approval through the APVMA.

The changes requested through APVMA are:

  • consolidation of treatments to a single application of 6L/ha instead of two applications of 3L/ha
  • a reduced exposure period from 35 to 28 days
  • if required, a retreatment application with a half-dose at 3L/ha instead 6L/ha, at the seventh week, and
  • post-application watering-in requirements that better align with industry practice

These changes are being reviewed by the APVMA in the coming months with a decision expected before December 2019 at the latest.  Until the bifenthrin permit has been updated, no changes will be made to the chemical treatment requirements for turf farmers.

While the permit changes that have been requested will reduce the exposure period for bifethrin to 28 days, we will be undertaking field trials to determine if a further reduction is possible.  Outcomes from the permit change request and the field trials will be communicated in due course.

Turf farms who are currently infested with fire ants and applying Bifenthrin under the direction of a Biosecurity Order should treat as per current requirements on PER14317.

We appreciate your feedback and thank you for your support

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