Now is a great time to control the red imported fire ant according to NC State University.
The red imported fire ant is native to southern Brazil, but as their name suggests they were accidentally imported to the United States around the year 1930. Since then, they have moved from Mobile, AL to eleven different states, primarily in the Southeast.
These ants are known for their multiple stings, and while not fatal for most people, the stings are painful. If you have had the misfortune of being stung, you know all too well the need to keep them out of your lawn.
Most information available suggests that it is impossible to eradicate these insects, but control is possible. The primary techniques are to treat the mounds, place baits, or a combination of the two methods. If you are going to place baits, it is best not to treat the mounds until a few days later.
In general, baits tend to be more effective, but can also take a little longer to be fully effective on the colony. In cases where quick control is necessary, a drench of the mound will give the quickest knockdown, but even then it is recommended to put out baits to help deal with any ants that escaped the mounds.
The internet is filled with “home remedies” designed to control fire ants. Below are a few of the more popular solutions which are completely ineffective when combating these pests and should not be utilized. They include:
- Liquid soap – which supposedly removes the protective wax layer of the ant. However, that’s simply not true.
- Grits – while some assume if ants ingest the tiny grains they will expand and explode. But fire ants only ingest liquids, not solid foods.
- Club soda – many believe this will suffocate the colony. And while a few ants may be killed, the liquid quickly disappears into the soil rendering it ineffective.
This publication from NC State lists various chemicals and tips that homeowners can use if you prefer the do it yourself method.
If, however, you would prefer to let a professional deal with these pests, we would be happy to help!
For more information from NC State on red imported fire ants check out the following links:
Managing Fire Ants In Your Yard: https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/lawn/note145/note145.html
Red Imported Fire Ant in North Carolina: https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/ifa.htm