California Department of Pesticide Regulation has registered a new liquid ant bait from Bayer CropScience for use in California vineyards and orchards to control sugar-feeding ants.

The registration of Vitis Liquid Ant Bait, an easy-to-use liquid formulation, is the culmination of a successful joint project between Bayer CropScience and the University of California.

“Sugar-feeding ants have become a real problem in orchards and vineyards because they have a mutually beneficial arrangement with harmful pests such as mealybugs and scale, protecting those pests from their natural predators,” said Manuel Jimenez, BCS technical service representative for California. “Vitis is an innovative, easy-to-use solution for management of sugar-feeding ants. It's a good example of the ag industry and university working together to offer growers an effective Integrated Pest Management tool.”

Vitis must be applied through in-field bait stations approved by EPA-ChemSAC as non-food use. Information on commercial and do-it-yourself (DIY) bait stations is available at your local UC Cooperative Extension office or through Bayer CropScience sales representatives, as well as within each case of Vitis.

“Vitis is available in 96-ounce bottles ideal for use in do-it-yourself stations developed by University of California Cooperative Extension experts,” noted Ed Ishida, BCS Senior Technical Sales Specialist. “A single jug fits in these designs — with no mixing or diluting prior to use. With early bait establishment, Vitis can provide season-long protection from key ant pests.”

Vitis leads to disruptions within the insect's nervous system. Foraging ants that ingest the active ingredient exhibit delayed mortality, allowing the bait to be carried back to the colony and which leads to greater overall control of the entire ant colony.

Initial effects may be seen in as little as one to two weeks, according to the company, although significant reductions in overall populations generally will not occur for six to eight weeks following the introduction of and continuous exposure to Vitis.