Nothing compares to a vibrant, healthy yard. However, creating a beautiful yard doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of sweat and hard work. If you follow some tips and best practices, you can have the yard of your dreams with ease, but depending on where you live, you could have a pest or insect problem that can be detrimental to your yard. One of the biggest culprits that we’ll be talking about today involves imported red fire ants. Here is some information about fire ants and instructions for treating your yard to get rid of these pests:
About Fire Ants
While there are many different kinds of fire ants found throughout the United States, the imported red fire ant that has invaded the South is possibly the most troubling one to deal with. From their painful bites to the damage they can do to any yard, these insects are pests that you would rather see gone. These ants, which tend to form large mounds, make their homes in gardens, parks, pastures, and other outdoor areas found throughout the southern United States.
Imported red fire ants made the journey from South America to the southern United States back in the 1930s. They first touched ground in Alabama. These creatures are typically very small; only reaching about ¼ inch in length. Their color is a reddish brown, and they typically like to form mounds that can be as small as a few inches high or be as large as two feet tall. While they tend to stay outside, rain or serious drought can cause these ants to move indoors.
Problems They Cause
One key factor to remember about red imported fire ants is their aggressive and competitive behavior. No matter what disturbs these ants, they will bite aggressively and swarm whatever comes in their path. The bites that these critters cause can be very painful, and when they swarm, you can receive in dozens of bites in just seconds. If you have kids or pets that play around in your yard, this can be a serious threat that you’ll need to address.
Furthermore, their colonies travel easily. Even if you destroy one of their mounds, they can relocate to a different area and rebuild. These troublesome ants work in huge colonies that can house upwards of 500,000 ants. This means hundreds of mounds can form on just a single acre of land.
How to Treat a Fire Ant Problem
One common approach to getting rid of fire ants involves trying to destroy their mounds. This is typically done with two different processes, baiting or mound drenching. The first method is focused on killing the queen ant, which is the leader of these colonies. You’ll also want to kill the worker ants found deep inside these colonies. This is done using bait. The mound drenching method uses insecticide for targeted treatments on the mounds. These methods work best during the early morning hours or in cooler weather when the ants are busy foraging.
Fire ant baits are typically a granular insecticide, an insect growth regulator, or a combination of the two. While the insecticide immediately kills the ants, the regulator works as a form of birth control to prevent the colonies from growing larger. No matter what approach you take, you’ll want to keep the kids indoors and pets out of the area as you apply the bait.
Once again, you have a few choices when it comes to applying the bait. You can attack individual mounds or target large areas. If you have a medium to large infestation, then broadcasting over a large area tends to be the more effective approach. For the best results, fire ant baits work best when applied on a dry day, or when no watering or rain is expected for the next 48 hours. If you plan to apply on a hot day, wait till the evening, if possible, since the ants will be foraging during that time.
When using the broadcast method, use a broadcast spreader to apply granular fire ant bait to the area. Be sure to follow the directions on the product label. You’ll want to then wait several days, as the foragers will spread the bait throughout the nest and onto the worker and queen ants.
When attacking a mound, you’ll want to apply the ant bait around the mound, not directly onto it. Be sure to follow the directions on the product label for the best results. Again, you’ll want to wait several days for the bait to spread around the colony.
If you need help tackling your fire ant problem in Texas, then pick up the phone and call Main Street Mowing today! We are proud to help homeowners and businesses in Highland Village, Lewisville, and Flower Mound. Call Main Street Mowing today to say goodbye to those annoying fire ants.