Controlling Fire Ant Infestations

June 14, 2013 | Pests, posted by Sasha

With their intricate mounds, poisonous bites, and intimidating numbers, fire ants are a source of intrigue, fear, and nuisance. Fire ants build mounds that can be up to eighteen inches high. They always live in colonies, which include a queen, winged males and females, workers and brood. Because fire ants prefer sunny, open spaces, lawns are typically where you can find fire ant mounds. If you don’t notice the mound first, you’ll notice the parades of ants foraging all over the yard and even into your home. Although fire ants do not damage turfgrass, they are very aggressive, and their bites have a nasty sting. As a result, they can create quite an annoyance when gardening or taking care of your lawn. Additionally, their mounds are unsightly and can be dangerous areas for children, pets, or livestock.

Fire ants are most active and prevalent in the spring and fall. Although there is not really any sure way of completely preventing the invasion of fire ants, controlling their populations is relatively simple and easy.

One commonly used method of destroying a colony is to pour a large pot over three gallons of boiling water over the mound. Doing this right after a rain is most effective, since the mound is already weakened. Although this method does not completely destroy the mound every time, it works about 60% of the time and severely damages the populations, regardless.

Nematodes are a natural solution to controlling fire ant infestations. Introduce them at dusk in moist soils near the fire ant mound.

If you are interested in using pesticides, always choose baits over contact products. They are both more effective and less damaging to the environment. Baits are specifically targeted towards the ants, and only the ants will retrieve and consume them. Because the ants will take it in themselves, the concentration of chemicals and active ingredients is lower. Sprays or other contact pesticides often affect and kill other living organisms that are beneficial to your environment and weaken your soil and grass.

Gardening and lawncare can be highly rewarding and satisfying, given the time and effort. Never let a small setback discourage you. If you are looking for a new start or have any questions, contact The Grass Outlet today.