Even though temperatures are cooling, we're still getting quite a few calls for fire ants. Many people associate treating fire ants with summer activities and being outdoors, but fall is actually a gr…Read More
Fire Ant Control
Fire ants are red and black ants that build mounds in soft soil. Since they are aggressive and have a painful sting it is important to exterminate them, especially when children and pets play in the yard. The most effective time to treat is usually not earlier than late April, after ants have swarmed (which means they fly off to start a new colony). If the treatment is done before this, mounds can be handled, but swarming fire ants can invade the area newly.
We treat fire ants with granular bait that has a growth regulator as an active ingredient. This causes the queen to become sterile and stops the production of new ants. Bait should be applied on a warm day when the ground is dry and the ants are foraging. This is not a preventive treatment since the ants have to be present to be able to take the bait. Since the bait is only viable for a short time after application it would only have an impact on the ants that are currently in your yard. This will not stop ants coming from neighboring yards or for entering your yard when they swarm. If a group of houses treated at the same time, the treatment would be more effective and last longer. Fire ant mounds are typically visible after a rain and the colonies tend to be completely underground in dry weather periods.
If yards are not treated in a timely manner, the fire ants may come inside. They tend to be found on floors, in clothing, sheets and towels, especially after heavy rains or flooding. In the winter they may be found inside water heater areas and other warms spots they have access to. They are also attracted to pet food bowls. In these instances we would still broadcast the yard with bait to handle the source but we would also treat around the exterior perimeter to help keep them out while the bait has a chance to work.