Currently fire ant mounds are visible all over. The rain we’ve had causes the ants to move up out of the wet soil to escape the moisture. When it is hot and dry these ants are underground and may not be noticed, unless you are stung. When the ants go unchecked in your yard they can eventually go into the house to forage. They are usually found on the floors, around pet food and in laundry. The best way to combat this is to treat the yard before they have a chance to get inside. Baiting for fire ants offers a minimum impact to the environment because it doesn’t stay in the soil and is less costly than more toxic contact insecticide products which can remain in the soil for months. The bait must be applied when ants are foraging and when the ground is dry. The ants must be present and take the bait back to the colony in order for it to work.

The ground is still cool and the fire ants have not started to forage much. This makes baiting ineffective. Soil temperature of 70-94 degrees usually indicate optimal time for baiting, however at my home it is ~73 degrees 1 inch down and foraging is minimal. Placing bits of a potato chip near a fire ant mound can help you know if they are foraging. If you see them interested in the chip after 5-10 minutes baiting can be successful. Fire ants swarm in the spring and fall so these are usually the best times to apply bait. Fire ants are less of a problem in areas where more people in the area are treating for them. If your neighbors aren’t handling their problem, it could soon become yours as well.

 

Fire Ant Mound