When it comes to pests, few can be more irritating than red fire ants. Fire ants are very aggressive in their behavior and aren’t afraid to sting those that come close to their dwellings. These dwellings, of course, can be located directly in your backyard.
Dealing with a fire ant issue can be important, especially if you have children or pets. Many homeowners find themselves stumped as to how to address this common issue.
Does that sound like you as well? Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you should know about fire ant control.
Why Fire Ants Are A Serious Threat
If there is a strong pretense of fire ants in your backyard, it’s a reason for concern. The sting of an aggressive fire ant can have a variety of effects, with the more extreme reactions including severe irritation or nausea.
Outside of causing damage to people or pets, they can also cause damage to other parts of your home. They can destroy plants, air conditioning units, and electric junction boxes.
A fire ant infestation has the potential to ruin the appearance of your yard or garden.
If not treated properly, a fire ant infestation can grow rapidly. There can be anywhere between 10 and 150 mounds per one acre of land. Each mound alone, if left untreated, has the potential to grow up to two feet in size.
Each of these mounds also contains huge colonies of ants, working and living together underground. A single mound typically houses anywhere from 30,000 to 500,000 individual fire ants. A mound can spread and create a new colony within a matter of hours.
As such, stamping out, flooding, or otherwise attempting to physically destroy a mound will do no good in the long-term. Fire ants are adept in survival and have figured out ways to continue to spread and spread once they’ve found a resting place.
So what can you do?
Fire Ant Control: Kill The Queen
Fire ants are resilient creatures, and it can be difficult to get rid of them once they’ve taken root in a specific area. Doing so will require the careful implementation of pesticides designed to kill the queen of a colony.
Though there are hundreds of thousands of ants in a particular colony, there is usually only one queen. The queen is in charge of the colony and all the worker ants follow her orders. She is often located deep underground and is protected by many other ants.
Killing the queen is the key to getting rid of fire ants. Without a Queen in place, colonies will dissipate and disappear. They will not be able to rebuild after a disaster. Treating a lawn is a task that is designed to eliminate the queen and therefore the fire ant presence as a whole.
But how can get you to the Queen if she’s well protected, deep in the colony? There are a few different possible methods.
How To Get Rid of Fire Ants
When it comes to fire ant control, there are a few different methods used. These methods vary in terms of procedure and efficiency.
Baiting Fire Ants
In some situations, homeowners use something known as ‘bait’ to help kill fire ant colonies. Bait is usually some form of pesticide that is combined with the type of food that ants often eat.
These baits are left around colonies, where it is collected by worker ants and brought back to the colony to distribute and eat. All ants in the colony are fed off this bounty, including the queen. After consumption of the pesticide bait, they die.
Baits are typically applied to individual colonies but can be cast out across a lawn in general. The unfortunate downside of the baiting process is that it is a slow one. There is a certain amount of waiting and time required before results can be seen.
Baiting is also not our first choice in terms of effectiveness. Often, new colonies from untreated yards can intrude on a lawn even a few weeks after the homeowner has finished baiting. In this situation, there is nothing stopping new fire ants from making their way over and recolonizing the yard.
The better choice when treating a yard is often a granular product. Granular, non-repellent pesticides can kill mounds fast and offer much longer-lasting results.
Such product is applied to the top of a mound and sometimes mixed with water. It then quickly seeps into and spreads throughout the mound, killing fire ants like a fast-moving virus.
The use of a granular product can help to secure your yard from fire ants for months after just one servicing. Unlike with baiting, granular products can help prevent fire ants from returning or taking up nest down the line.
This is why it’s recommended that the product be applied to the entire lawn so that fire ants are removed and stay out for the foreseeable future.
Top Choice is one of the best available granular fire ant killers and the one we here at Abracadabra use. With the fire ants removed from your yard, you can resume use of your outdoor area without fear of irritation or injury.
Preventing Fire Ant Infestation
An infestation from fire ants in your yard can lead to very serious problems. If you’ve noticed growing mounds in your yard or outdoor area, it’s important to take the time to make a fire ant control plan.
Need help getting these pests away from your home? Reach out to us anytime for professional assistance.