Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Time to Treat for Fire Ants

You may have noticed that since the rainstorm this weekend, fire ant mounds have popped up.  When it rains, or you water well, the fire ants move their colony to higher ground to keep from drowning, making their mounds very noticeable.



It also makes them easier to step on and sting us.  The weather we are having right now, is the perfect weather to treat for fire ants.  If you treat now, you can give yourself some good control through the summer (unless mounds relocate from your neighbor's into your yard).

After the dew has dried, broadcast spread a fire ant bait of your choice around the yard.  Be sure to follow the recommended label rate - more bait does not mean better control.  In fact, it only takes one little granule of bait to be brought into the colony to eliminate the colony.  The workers feed the bait to the larvae, who then regurgitate the partially digested food and it is fed to the queen.  When the queen dies, the colony dies.

If applied correctly, baits can be an environmentally friendly option, saving other ant species and not harming wildlife, other insect, pets, or us.

Be sure to find a bait that is labeled for fire ants.  Other ant baits aren't as attractive to fire ants.  I find that application is almost more important than what bait you choose.  Apply fresh bait, not old bait, apply to dry grass, and apply when rain is not in the forecast for at least 24 hours (do not water the lawn either).  When fire ants are actively foraging for food is the best time to apply.  This is generally when its over 65 degrees.  You can test this by placing a piece of hot dog or a potato chip outdoors for about 45-60 minutes.  Fire ants love hot dogs and potato chips and if they are looking for food, they'll come to it.  Then you know if its a good time to spread your bait.

For more information on fire ants, visit these websites:
http://fireant.tamu.edu
http://www.extension.org/fire_ants

No comments: