Summer in south is known for many things, and unfortunately one of them is pesky fire ants. These creepy crawlers create nests all over your yard and venture into your home for food. If you encounter them, you might end up with some nasty stings.
If left untreated, fire ants can run rampant in your yard and even start nesting in or underneath your home. At ABC Home & Commercial Services, we are fully equipped to handle even the nastiest fire ant infestations. But we want to help you prevent fire ants from overwhelming your yard before we have to resort to professional treatment.
Here are some things to know about fire ant prevention: how to spot them, and how to kill them.
Facts About Fire Ants
Fire ants range in size from 1.6 mm to 5 mm. They are a dull red color, which can look reddish brown or reddish black depending on the ant. They have tiny stingers on the back of their bodies, so be careful as you try to identify them and watch where you step in your yard.
You’ve probably seen fire ant mounds around during summer in the south. But these mini mountains are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fire ant nests. Nests are underground networks of tunnels that can spread 25 feet from the little mound you see at the surface. This makes it easy for fire ant colonies to spread into gardens and homes and wreak havoc.
Fire ants can and will sting repeatedly if they think their nest is under attack. The worker ants found at the surface are protecting the queen below while she lays up to 800 eggs per day. Average colonies consist of 100,000-500,000 fire ants, sometimes with more than one queen. If left unchecked, it is easy to imagine how quickly fire hands can overwhelm your yard and home.
Getting Rid of Fire Ants
Since the lifespan of a worker fire ant is only about 5 weeks, the key to combating them is to take out the queen. Once she is no longer laying eggs, it will be easier to eradicate fire ants from your yard. The earlier you start treating fire ant mounds with bait, the less the population will grow and spread through your yard.
One of the most effective ways to eliminate the queen is with bait. If worker ants bring the bait down to the queen as food, she will eat it and die. It is best to apply bait on dry, sunny days when the workers are most actively foraging for food. On wet, humid days activity will be slower and the bait is less likely to work effectively.
If you are seeking faster results, try a liquid insecticide. Pushing hollow rods into the mound and pouring the liquid inside helps to increase the likelihood of it reaching the queen, and keeps it off of the surface of the mound in your yard.
For a more natural remedy, try pouring vinegar and baking soda into the hole, and/or a kettle full of boiling water. This might not finish off the colony completely, but it is less toxic for your yard and for you.
Make sure to keep pets and children away from the fire ant nests in your yard before, during, and after treatment. The materials used for bait can be harmful to your critters, and even after the use of natural products the ants will be swarming to protect their colony and queen. This makes them exceptionally likely to sting!
Need extra help with fire ant prevention? Call ABC today!
If you are experiencing a fire ant infestation in your yard or home that won’t go away, ABC can help. We have all of the necessary professional tools to stop fire ants in their tracks. Call us today for pest control services at 469-549-7300.
For pest infestations in your home, count on ABC Home & Commercial Services. We have your summer pest solutions.