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Dubious Remedies (4/20/2011)

Audio:

(Note: Audio begins with actuality.)

 

Intro:

 

This is the time of year when fire ants start showing up, particularly after the ground gets a good watering. But scientists say many people are dealing with them by using home remedies that ... well ... don't really work. Bill McLean reports.

 

Brown:

(Audio in, est. :08 secs, under)

:08 - Club soda, molasses, corn meal, aspartame, baking soda, sugar, grits, cayenne pepper, oak ash, cinnamon, coffee grounds ...

 

McLean:

Texas AgriLife Extension Entomologist Wizzie Brown has heard of so many home remedies reputed to kill fire ants that she scheduled a series of experiments to test these claims. When asked to rattle off a list of these, she said she didn't have time.

 

Brown:

:04 - Oh wow! I could be here all day. There's just ... it goes on and on.

 

McLean:

Brown's testing program gives the products a 30-day chance to work, but so far, among the mythic fire ant treatments she has debunked are coffee grounds, cinnamon, club soda and cayenne pepper. So where does she learn about these home remedies?

 

Brown:

:13 - Emails that have been going around the Internet, gardening forums where I look and see what people are suggesting, and then I have people in presentations I'm giving that are like, "Oh, hey, I heard this works!"

 

McLean:

Brown says the best way to treat fire ants is to thoughtfully and carefully use a commercial pesticide labeled specifically for fire ants. She also recommends Texas A&M's extensive fire ant website at fireant.tamu.edu.

 

McLean:

In Austin, I'm Bill McLean.



04-20-11 Dubious Remedies.mp3