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How To Control Fire Ants

There are many types of ant infestations that can occur in a household but few infestations strike fear in the heart of the homeowner like the fire ant. Fire Ants (also known as red ants) are regarded as one of the most dangerous and troublesome species of ant that can be found in the United States. Fire ants are also one of the only species of ants whose sting can cause serious reactions to people and give off a burning sensation on the skin, hence the name they are given. People often confuse fire ants as biters, but what they actually do is pinch the skin to lift it and then inject their toxin to the pinched skin.

Fire ants are found all over the country but are prevalent especially in the south where the temperatures are more preferred by fire ants. They have also thrived in the region due to a lack of predators. Fire ants are very aggressive in nature and they can build up the population of their colonies alarmingly fast with colonies reaching numbers as high as 250,000. Fire ants also create visible mounds that can be rather large. They are a large threat to pets, people and livestock.

If your home has come down with a fire ant infestation then immediate action needs to be taken to protect you and your family from these aggressive pests. Whether you’re looking for control products or free advice from DIY experts, Solutions Pest and Lawn has everything you need to get rid of fire ants in the most effective way.

Browse our fire ant control products below. If you have any questions or concerns call or email us or chat with us live online and we will be happy to help you.

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How To Get Rid of Fire Ants: Solutions 4 Step Process

 

Controlling fire ants can be quite difficult as they are aggressive and persistent and likely to reinvade places they are driven out of. To achieve the best possible long-term protection, you will need a solid control program which tackles the infestation in more than one way. Solutions Pest & Lawn recommends a combination of baits, sprays and granules for controlling fire ants as well as exclusion measures to make your property less welcoming to fire ants. Below are some simple steps we put together for you to follow when addressing this problem pest.

Step 1: Before you can tackle fire ants with chemical control, it is best to do a thorough inspection to see where fire ants are residing and where they are the most active.  When it comes to fire ants, you need to start your inspection outdoors and then work your way indoors. Usually this can be easily done by locating fire ant mounds in your yard and observing fire ants foraging in the early morning or late evening time.

 


Step 2:
Treat the ant mound directly. Start treatment at the nest but be careful not to know down the mound as that would scatter the colony.The nest can be treated by applying an insecticide such as
Reclaim IT Insecticide. Spray to the point of totally drenching the nest using a hose end sprayer, ensuring the product gets good penetration to really get into the mound and reach the queen.


Step 3:
Once the mound has been treated, there are likely many fire ants still out foraging and the queen and reproductives may still be alive and will just make a new generation to deal with. To combat these ants, baiting should also be a part of your control program like 
Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait  to take care of the remaining outdoor population. Alternatively, you can use Bifen LP granules.


Step 4:
For ants that have made their way indoors, we recommend sprays and dusts. An aerosol like
Fipro Foaming Aerosol can be sprayed on fire ants directly or used to treat cracks and crevices. Fordusts, use D-Fense Dust behind electrical outlets, wall voids and to create a barrier around your home to keep fire ants out.

 

How to Control Fire Ants Like a ProfessionalFire ant

Contrary to what some people might believe, you cannot just pour boiling water on your fire ant mound and think you will be fire ant free. When this is done, or even disturbing the mound, will simply make the colony relocate to a new part of the yard.

 

Colonies generally have their own territories. They forage in established trails. Red imported fire ants will sometimes nest in areas of exposed soil within buildings (e.g., bath traps). They also build outside nests adjacent to foundation walls and slabs. Fire ants are attracted to electrical junction boxes and air conditioners. They also nest in gas and water meter boxes and follow pipes into the building.


Feeding Preferences: Red imported fire ants prefer high-protein foods, but will feed on almost any plant or animal matter.
Social insects require some finesse, and the proper attractant to get them to do what you want them to do, and let them think they are doing what they want to do, similar to husbands.


Have the right bait and following the application recommendations on the label will make you an ant killing machine.

 

Say goodbye Mister Fire Ant!


At Solutions Pest & Lawn, we offer a full line of professional pest control products including a variety of ant control products like ant baits and ant killers so that you can kill all your ant control problems in an instant. Whether it is carpenter ant baits or fire ant killers, we have dedicated pest control products for all ant types.

 

Learn More About Fire Antsfire ant infestation

There’s nothing like walking through grass on a warm summer’s day, but every Southerner knows that a barefoot stroll in the yard comes with a few risks such as the painful bites for relentless fire ants.

This fire ant mound is a family sight to anyone who live in the southern U.S. but you won’t see them marching around in little lines on the ground, instead, they travel in an underground network of foraging tunnels.

A fire ant’s main senses are touch and smell. The slightest disturbance and workers release alarm pheromones, a chemical signal that can raise the entire mound to defense within seconds. Anything sitting still is now a target.

The Bite of The Fire Ant

The fire ant’s bite isn’t what hurts. Their mouths only serve as anchors so they can curl around a sharp stinger and inject a dose of venom, a painful reminder they’re in the same order of insects as bees and wasps, the hymenoptera.

 

Insect researcher Justin O Schimdt developed a pain index for hymenoptera venom, mostly by allowing himself to be stung over and over. The tiny sweat bee for instance is a 1 “a tiny spark singing a single hair. The bullet ant, scores a 4, the most painful grade, described as, “fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3 inch rusty nail in your heel.

 

Fire ants score a mere 1.2 on the schmidt pain index, but they tend to sting multiple times which will not feel good. Within a few days, a white bump will form. These stings have made fire ants a target of pure hate in the southern US. However, it’s important to remember that fire ants are just like us, an imported species.

 

The Red Imported Fire Ant Arrival To US Fire Ant Mound

The red imported fire ant arrived in the U.S. between 1933 and 1942, accidently scooped from their home in South America, placed onboard a ship and dropped in Mobile, Alabama. Ant scientist E.O. Wilson recorded the first known sighting of imported fire ants. Over the next two decades, the ants would spread out from Alabama, sending farmers into full freak out!

 

The US stopped at nothing to eradicate them, using bomber planes filled with insecticide, showering the south with tons of poison. These pesticides were exponentially more poisonous than DDT. These aerial treatments did a lot of killing, but not so much fire ants but livestock, birds, fish and native ant species.

 

By wiping out the native ants, it made it easier for imported fire ants to advance. They’ve since spread from Florida to Texas on to California and even Mexico, China and Australia. How did this happen? Part of the answer lies in how they reproduce. They mate and reproduce quickly.

 

Thanks to their tropical origins, during floods, entire fire ant colonies can clump together and float until they find a new home. Fire ants are an invasive species, like the insect version of weeds.

 

Like weeds, they are more annoying than dangerous but imported fire ants cost 6 Billions dollars every year in damages. They damage everything from golf courses to electrical equipment.

 

fire ant mound shutterstockFire Ant Management

Eradication of fire ants is impossible but control can be achieved. What’s interesting is that phorid flies are an insect that is one of the natural enemies of fire ants and are known to decapitate the heads of ants they encounter especially in South America. The way they do this is by hovering over unsuspecting workers, laying an egg on the ant and flying away. Once the egg hatches, the maggot begins to eat everything in site and their heads fall off!

 

These phorid flies have been used by scientists as a biological and non-toxic control method. However these flies are super specific to the species they attack. So until an answer comes, fire ants won’t be wiped off the face of the earth anytime soon but if you do encounter them on your property, Solutions Pest & Lawn has products which can help you to put a stop to them.

 

Here are a few treatment approaches we recommend.

 

 

Fire Ant Baiting

 

The type of bait you apply determines how quickly ants will be controlled and how long the effect will last. Some of the more effective fire ant bait products include indoxacarb (such as Advion Fire Ant Bait Insecticide), hydramethylnon (Extinguish fire ant bait). These baits may need to be re-applied more often than slower acting and longer lasting products such as baits which contain abamectin, fenoxycarb, methoprene or pyriproxyfen, which work in 1-2 months when applied in spring and 6 months when applied in fall.

 SPreader

Fire Ant Insecticide Treatments

With this approach, an insecticide concentrate is applied to the lawn, landscaping and on surfaces. This is more expensive than other control methods but it may be more effective in smaller areas because ants that move into treated areas will be eliminated as long as the chemical is active. Granular products (such as Bifen LP Granules) are best applied with a push-type fertilizer spreader and must be watered in after treatment.

 

Granular products are slower acting but longer lasting; only one treatment is permitted per year. Faster-acting contact insecticides, such as pyrethroids eliminate ants on the surface for months but may not eliminate colonies nesting deeper in the soil.

 

Individual Mound Treatments

While treating ant mounds individually is more labor intensive and may use more insecticide than other methods it may be the best approach for smaller areas where there are visible ant mounds spotted.

 

Drenching the ant mounds with a product like Reclaim IT Insecticide can be used to treat individual ant mounds and are ideal for treating inaccessible colonies like those nesting under sidewalks, in plant beds and at the bases of tree trunks. There are also other mound treatment products are available such as as baits, injectable aerosols like FiPro Foaming Aerosol or dusts or granules that are watered into the mound. Ants are killed only if the insecticide contacts them, so proper application is vital.

 

Treatments using these products are most effective when ants are nesting close to the mound surface (as they do when the temperature is mild). We want to stress to not disturb the colony during application.



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