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Fire ants infest Rialto football field

September 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In high school football, when the coach says "fire up," he does not mean firing up some unwanted pests.Rialto High School has a new $6 million football complex. However, it has only been used once, during the Rialto High School season opener.

Last Wednesday, a groundskeeper discovered an ant that wasn't your run-of-the-mill garden variety. It turns out the "Knights" home field was home to a colony of South American fire ants.

"Being bit by one of the ants, especially if you have allergies, could be fatal. It's just like a bee sting," said Syeda Jafri, Rialto Unified School District. "The venom is quite high."

The district, along with the State Department of Agriculture, decided to put together a system to eradicate the colony of fire ants. It is a two-step process.

"The first is you have to apply the chemicals on the field. And the second part of it is to make sure that you monitor so that you don't find any more mounds," said Jafri.

They say timing is everything in football. It seems the perfect time to take care of these pests is now. The Knights football team has been on the road for the past couple of weeks; this week is a bye week; and the next home game scheduled for next Friday.

"Our varsity and our freshman aren't playing this week. Our JV is going to be moved to an alternate site. They're going to play at one of our local middle schools. And hopefully, by next Friday, everything will be taken care of," said Rialto High School Assistant Principal Christine Foote. "And the district has done their job. They've brought down everybody to help eradicate the ants and we'll be back playing our next home game and hopefully looking for a victory."

So far, the Knights are a perfect 1 and 0 at home. They'd like to extend that streak here Friday night.

 

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