It’s springtime in the south, which means fire ants are starting to build their mounds. These pesky, annoying and painful insects can be hard to treat, so we’re providing a few tips for property owners to keep in mind. To treat fire ants in the yard, it’s important to identify the affected areas by looking for ant mounds and following their hunting paths. Fire ants look similar to regular ants except they’re more reddish in color and display aggressive behavior when they feel their mounds are threatened.
10 Don’t’s of Fire Ant Treatment
- Don’t attempt to control fire ants located within electrical and/or telephone equipment, unless you are a qualified, licensed and trained pest control professional, such as the technicians at United Pest & Turf Control.
- Don’t pour gasoline, diesel, oil, bleach or household cleaners in or around fire ant mounds. All this does is damage the surrounding lawn and plants, create a fire hazard in the area and it’s harmful to the environment.
- Don’t apply fire ant bait when it is too hot, too cold or there is dew on the grass. Temperatures below 70ºF or above 90ºF are considered too hot or too cold. The ants go deep into the soil when it is hot or cold, making it more difficult to treat them.
- Don’t sprinkle bait after it rains because it reduces effectiveness.
- Don’t use old fire ant bait products. The materials in the bait can become stale and less attractive to the fire ants, making it less effective. Look at the expiration date on the label or purchase new bait if the bag has been opened for more than a few months.
- Don’t mix bait with fertilizer or other pest baits. This is dangerous to the turf and surrounding plants. Read the label and apply bait as directed.
- Don’t purposefully disturb fire ant mounds. Kicking the soil, poking holes in the mound and provoking fire ants will only cause them to attack and result in bites. Keep children and animals away from fire ant mounds.
- Don’t apply products before reading the application instructions.
- Don’t sprinkle bait products directly on top of mounds. The bait will not be discovered rapidly enough by ants searching for food. Again, read the application instructions.
- Don’t use products that are not specifically designed for fire ants.
Do’s of Fire Ant Treatment
- Do contact your utility company and/or a licensed and trained pest control professional, such as the technicians with United Pest & Turf Control if there are fire ants near a utility. This helps avoid serious injury to yourself and electrical equipment.
- Do apply baits when soil temperatures are around 80ºF (between 70ºF and 90ºF), after monitoring for activity.
- Do be careful around fire ant mounds and try to disturb the soil as little as possible. Apply products gently to avoid disturbing the colony.
- Do read the application instructions thoroughly. For example, if the label calls for the product to be watered, use a water can or a gentle setting from a sprinkler. Take note that some products call for water and others do not.
- Do place bait products about 2-3 feet from the mound’s edge. Fire ants will discover the bait more quickly in that area than on top of the mound.
- Do follow application and label instructions on all pesticide products, it’s the law.
- Do treat fire ant mounds individually on sunny mornings after cool nights. In the morning, fire ants will be closer to the surface of the mound, making contact more likely.
- Do apply baits when the ground is dry and no rain is expected for at least 24 hours.
- Do allow bait formulations time to be taken in by the ants and distributed within the colony. This means avoiding disturbance of treated colonies for at least a few days following application.\
- Do contact United Pest & Turf Control if you’re experiencing stubborn fire ants that continue to build mounds in or around your property.
Tips courtesy of the Oklahoma State Agriculture Department.
Fire Ant Damage
Fire ants can cause a wide range of damage, from killing off plants to causing electrical malfunctions. They are known to eat through insulation and wiring, which can result in circuit breakers, switch boxes, and transformers getting fried. If left unchecked, these tiny terrors can wreak havoc on your home’s utilities and pose a serious risk of fire hazards and financial losses. Contact United Pest & Turf Control with your fire ant concerns and a licensed, trained professional will examine the property and offer a free estimate.