Fire Ant Exterminator

fire ants

Fire ants have been taking over ever since they arrived in America. Fire ants have been able to boom in the states, because queen Fire ants can generate millions of Fire ant workers during her life span.

What Does The Fire Ant Look Like & What Does It Eat? 

Fire Ant

The Fire ant is a red color, and will have hairs coming off its body. They will vary in sizes; for 1.6mm to 5mm. The Fire ant will eat anything that gets in its way. It will eat other insects, small mammals, earthworms, frogs, and even lizards. When the Fire ant bites, it will also sting the prey and place some venom inside the prey. The venom will paralyze the pray.

What Does The Fire Ant Do? 

The Fire ant will create huge mounds, growing to be 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

fire ant mound

In the ground, the mound of the Fire ant will have hundreds of tunnels leading through the colony, sometimes reaching 8 feet in depth. The colony of a Fire ant can house 250,000 workers. The queen Fire ant can average about 1,600 eggs per day. These colonies can be found in wall voids, rain gutters, bath traps, and under carpets, as well as in electrical equipment.

Fire Ant attack

How Can I Take Care Of Fire Ants? 

Danger Ants

The best way to get these Fire ants out of your life, and your home, is to call an exterminator.  Fire ant exterminators will come to your home and examine the problem. The Fire ant exterminator will place baits out, and then the fire ant workers will take the baits back to their colony; killing the members. Bulwark Exterminating are Fire ant specialist, and will come to your home and rid you of the Fire ants. Bulwark Exterminators are all state certified and in-house trained. They will take care of your Fire ant problem.

Tramp Ants- These Ants Get Around!

I recently had the pleasure of attending Pest World 2013 in Phoenix, and it was there where I was introduced to the concept of tramp ants; presented by Dr. Laurel D. Hansen.

Tramp ants are recognized as such because of one common characteristic… Their loose morals. They get around!

Tramp ants are introduced, exotic, invasive, and alien.

Ant With FlowerHow Ants Are Spread

Tramp ants move locally, nationally, and internationally, via various modes of transport. They travel across oceans, over borders, across state lines; from farm to farm, city to city, and eventually home to home.

Tramp ants did not walk all by themselves from place to place, they had some help. Moving, traveling, vacationing; heck, even gardeners delight in foreign plants that have to be shipped. Lumber is moved throughout the continent, even throughout the world.

The human race is clearly the tramp ant’s best friend.

Ideal Features Of Tramp Ants

Not all species of ant spread successfully. Some move or are moved more effectively. Most types of tramp ants have many queens (polygyne), are aggressive (unicolonial), reproduce by budding, and do not have permanent homes (polydomous).

Most Common Tramp Ants In The U.S.

While there are quite literally dozens of different species of tramp ants in the United States, these five ants seem to be getting around the most:

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are commonly found in much of the Southeastern United States; and also in parts of California, Oregon, and Washington. They originally came her from South America (obviously given their name), and are popping up in zoos and nurseries. Their colonies can be huge, with tens of thousands of worker ants and multiple queens. In addition, colonies can merge, becoming one massive super-colony that can extend over several residential properties. They are very aggressive, forcefully driving out other species of ants.

Odorous House Ants

odorous house ant

Getting their name from the nasty odor they emit when squashed, Odorous House ants are distinguished as tramp ants mainly because of their exploitation of other ant species. While they are a native ant, they have made their rounds; taking of the nests of other ant species.

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ant

The notorious of all the tramp ants, and the ant with the worse reputation, is no doubt the Red Imported Fire Ant. These aggressive, stinging ants were imported from South America. Their current range now stretches from Texas to Maryland in the U.S. They have also found their way to China, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the Caribbean. A Red Imported Fire Ant queen can turn out some 1,500 new ant eggs a day. As you can imagine, these ants can create a major pest control problem for homeowners and local residents.

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ant

While the original origins of the Pharaoh ant are unknown for the most part (probably Africa), what is known is that these ants have become quite the nuisance pest, especially indoors. They are not only found in our homes, but are also infamous for infesting hospitals, grocery stores, hotels, schools, and restaurants. While Pharaoh ants cause significant damage in all of these places, they are most problematic in hospitals; being found in IV bags and operating rooms. Pharaoh ants are found virtually in every U.S. state, and throughout much of the world.

Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants have a habit of creating problems under asphalt, or concrete slabs; pushing small mounds of soil out through the cracks and expansion joints. Adjacent Pavement ant colonies fight, producing spectacular sidewalk ant battles. The species is native to Europe, but was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900’s.

Responsibilities Of The Pest Management Professional

When it comes to ant control, and dealing with tramp ants, pest management professionals have key roles. First, your technicians need to be able to identify all the species of ants they treat in the area. Most cities with universities hold ant identification workshops. There are also a wide variety of reference manuals available; as well as assistance from taxonomists. If your techs are seeing an ant species they cannot identify, with please have them turn to these professionals.

Always report new species of ant found in your area!

Ant Decapitating Flies

Parasitic FlyEver heard of the saying, “The enemy of your enemy is your friend?”

Well, if this sentiment holds true, let’s all embrace our new brain tunneling, mind controlling, head melting and ant decapitating friend… The Pseudacteon parasitic fly.

These teeny-tiny flies have the potential to be a natural pest control agent and combat the nasty hoards of fire ants that are plaguing the Southern United States. How you ask? By removing their heads!

Here’s how it all goes down:

Ant Decapitating Flies

Some of the most malevolent creatures to ever inhabit this country are the malicious, spiteful, stinging, Red Imported Fire ants. Their huge mounds are unmistakable. If you ever disturb one of these mounds in any way, hundreds of them will come spilling out, violently defending the colony by swarming up your arms and legs, painfully stinging you multiple times! Ouch!

For all of you that hate these fire ants with a passion, you now have a powerful ally to aid you in your battle.

Tiny parasitic flies of the genus Pseudacteon, which were brought up from South America by an entomologist for the sole purpose of controlling fire ant populations, kill fire ants by removing their heads.

These flies buzz around looking for fire ants; as they are drawn to the fire ant’s pheromones.

Upon locating a fire ant, the parasitic fly will dive-bomb into the ant’s head, sticking the ant with an internal ovipositor that looks like a microscopic needle.

Once sticking the ant, the fly will deposit a very small torpedo-shaped egg into the fire ant’s head.

Ant headWith an egg now inside the ant’s brain, the fly maggot will grow by feeding on the ant’s brain and bodily fluids. The fly larvae can actually control the fire ant’s mind for a period of time, until the larvae mercifully decides to kill it’s host.

The fly larvae will release a brain-dissolving chemical that eats away at the fire ant’s brain, membranes, glands, and muscle; some of which are needed to hold the ant’s head on it’s body.

Eventually, the ant’s head falls off, leaving the rest of the body behind, twitching like a decapitated zombie from The Walking Dead.

The fly larvae then hollows out the ant head, where it will stay and grow, until a new parasitic fly will emerge to once again burrow into another fire ant’s brain.

WOW! You can’t make this stuff up! It sounds like something straight out of a horror movie!

Fire Ant Control

We are still years away from importing these tiny parasitic flies from South America, to combat our fire ant populations. Entomologists have received approval to release four different batches of South American ant-decapitating flies in the U.S. Some argue against this idea… Kind of like breeding and releasing cats to combat a mice problem; only to be overrun by cats.

Until these tiny parasitic flies are frequently found buzzing in the U.S., taking out the masses of fire ants, your best bet to get rid of them is professional fire ant control. A combination of wide-area treatments and baiting is proven extremely effective for eliminating fire ants from a property.

10 Most Painful Insect Stings

Insects plague our backyards and for many of us, they also plague our nightmares. The following 10 insects have definitely earned their way into our nightmares and should not be taken lightly. According to American entomologist, Dr Justin O. Schmidt, these insects are the most painful out there. He created the Schmidt Sting Pain Index which ranks the most painful stings on a 1-4 scale.

10.    Sweat Bee

 Sweat Bee

Having a mild sting, Schmidt describes the Sweat bee’s punch as “light, ephemeral, almost fruity; a tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm” and ranks it a 1.0 on his pain index. These bees are attracted to human sweat, which is where they get their common name from.

9.    Fire Ant

Red Imported Fire Ant

When people think of painful insect stings the fire ant is definitely one of the first to mind. However, Schmidt rates it at a low 1.2 and says its “sharp, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.” Although, one fire ant sting is quite mild, just keep in mind that fire ants rarely come alone.

8.    Bullhorn Acacia Ant

The Bullhorn Acacia ant can be found protecting the leaves of its host the Acacia tree in Mexico and Central America. Its sting helps ward off the tree’s predators and threats. Schmidt classifies the sting at a 1.8 stating it as “a rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired staple into your cheek.”

7.    Bald-faced Hornet

Bald-faced Hornet

Easily confused for the European hornet, the Bald-faced Hornet can produce a painful and repeated sting. Schmidt also rates this bug’s sting at a 2.0 and describes it as “rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.”  The hornet can be identified by the stripes on its face and lower abdomen.

6.    Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket

Also ranking a 2.0 on the Schmidt Pain Index is the Yellow jacket. According to Schmidt, its sting is “hot and smoking, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.” Unlike its cousin, the honeybee, they’re known to be more aggressive and are capable of stinging repeatedly.

5.    Honeybee

Honey Bee

Honeybees are quite docile creatures, but we’ve all grown up knowing just how painful a common bee sting can be. Schmidt says it’s “like a match head that flips off and burns your skin.” Ouch! The little honeybee doesn’t seek you out just to sting, once this little guy stings you its dead.

4.    Red Harvester Ant

The head of an ant seen very close up.

These ants are what you may see in your backyard, but the sting of one of these ants rates 3.0 on the Schmidt Index. Its sting is described as “bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.” Harvester ants are productive workers and maintain their colony. They are also commonly sold for ant farms.

3.    Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

The next painful insect sting comes from the paper wasp. These painful insects have a sting that rates a solid 3.0 on the Schmidt scale.  Schmidt also says, that the sting has a “distinctly bitter aftertaste; like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.”

Paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellow jackets and hornets, but will attack if they feel threatened. These wasps feed on nectar but also hunt out small insects to feed their young. They are considered very beneficial insects due to the fact that they pollinate and aid in maintaining the pest insect population.

2.    Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp also scores an intense 4.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Schmidt describes it as “blinding, shockingly electric; a running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.” While this pain may be as intense as that of the Bullet Ant, it does not last very long; only an estimated 3 minutes.

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp gets its name from the arch rivalry it has with tarantulas. For the most part, the Hawk Wasp is quite docile and feeds on nectar, but when its time to reproduce the wasp will search out for a tarantula to lay its egg on. In the end, the tarantula really doesn’t stand a chance against the Hawk Wasp. Its venom will paralyze a tarantula and after the wasp has dragged the tarantula to its burrow, it will lay its egg on the spider. When the egg hatches, it feeds on the still live tarantula, and soon emerges as a fully developed wasp.

1.    Bullet Ant

Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata) female, Ecuado...

 Ranking a whopping 4.0+ on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index the bullet ant’s sting is described as follows: “like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.” Many who have also been shot describe it as equally painful, thus the ant’s name. The pain from this sting will not dilute after a few minutes, but has been known to last up to 24 hours.

The Bullet Ant can be found throughout most of South America from Nicaragua to the Amazon to Paraguay.  Many tribes, especially those in Brazil, use the ant to initiate the young boys into men. They must wear a sleeve made of leaves and bullet ants while getting stung for 10 minutes. This must be repeated 20 times before they can be considered men amongst the tribe.

Pest Control- Friday Links Round-Up

Pest Control- Friday Links Round-Up

 

Pest Control Links Round-Up

Pest Control Website Design Analysis

Interested in growing your small pest control business? Talk to Shannon Johnson of Manic Marketing in St. Petersburg, FL. More…

Travel Protection from BedBugs

Here’s a guide written for those that want to travel smart and take precautions to avoid bed bugs while traveling. More…

Tiny Ticks are a Big Health Hazard

The humble tick is a very small insect. However, don’t let the diminutive size fool you. The tiny tick can pose a big threat to your health. More…

Boost Your Sales By Marketing Your Pest Control Business

Consider the following marketing tips on how to grow your pest control business, and each day will end up with new growth. More…

Crazy Ants Driving Out Austin Fire Ants

According to a recent report out of The University of Texas At Austin, the spread of the invasive Crazy Ant has lead to them driving out other species of ants; including the Red Imported Fire ants. More…

Pest Of The Week: The Tarantula Hawk Wasp

 

Tarantula Hawk WaspWith the second most powerful and painful sting known to man, the Tarantula Hawk Wasp is a pest you don’t want any part of… And neither does a tarantula!

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp gets its name because it hunts tarantulas to host their offspring. When a female Tarantula Hawk Wasp locates an unsuspecting tarantula, it will attack; stinging the tarantula. Almost immediately, the tarantula will become paralyzed from the wasp’s sting as it gets drug back to the wasp’s nest. The Tarantula Hawk Wasp will then deposit her eggs inside the paralyzed tarantula. Once the wasp’s offspring hatch, they will feed on the creamy insides of the still tarantula, essentially eating the poor spider from the inside out.

The massive Tarantula Hawk Wasp measures almost two inches long, and has a very dark blue body with rust-colored wings. The wasp has really long legs that are equipped with hooks used to wrestle with tarantulas.

3 Pests That Can Ruin Your Fourth Of July

Fourth_Of_July_Family

Among all of your festive Fourth of July BBQ’s, fireworks, pool parties, and parades can lurk unanticipated nuisances that may very well wreak havoc on the day’s festivities (and I’m not talking about your Uncle Roger who drinks too much). I’m talking of course about bugs!

Here are three such nuisances, or outdoor pests, that can ruin your Fourth of July holiday:

Yellow Jackets

Wasps_On_Watermelon

One of the most popular Fourth of July activities are family picnics or barbeques. In fact, Last July 4th some 78 million Americans had a barbecue; grilling everything from hotdogs, to hamburgers, to shish kabobs. The sweet watermelon and sticky sodas draw in unwanted pests to your barbeques or picnics… Stinging pests!

Feeding on foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates (fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap), the Yellowjacket wasp also feeds on proteins (insects, meats, fish, etc.). So that means that just about anything you’ll eat on the Fourth of July can draw in yellowjackets. Building their nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside human-made structures, yellowjacket nests expand rather rapidly with as many as 5,000 stinging wasp members. The worst thing about these flying pests? All female members of the species are able to sting multiple times, causing incredible pain to anyone who has been stung.

Be on the lookout for their nests before you set out the day’s yummy food. If you do find a nest, keep away, and get a professional wasp removal service.

Fire Ants

Hands In Ant Nest

“The Red Coats are coming!!!”  “The Red Coats are coming!!!”

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington and Concord, screaming “the Red Coats are coming,” warning patriots that the red clad British army was marching. Some 238 years later a different kind of Red Coat is coming; a Red Coat that is malicious and spiteful just like a British soldier.

I’m talking, of course, about the Red Imported Fire ant and if you live anywhere in the Southern United States you are very familiar with their tactics. Their mounds can be huge, and if disturbed, hundreds of these stinging ants can come pouring out looking to violently defend their queen (much like the British Army did back in 1775). These extremely painful stings will cause welts on the skin and in rare cases even cause death. To top it all off, these ants may be on the move this July Fourth, looking for your food.

If you have Fire Ant mounds in or around your home or property, get professional Fire Ant control.

Mosquitoes

Many mosquitos on skin

The most prevalent Fourth of July pest is the blood-sucking mosquito, and they just happen to be the most active during the dawn and dusk hours; the exact times you will be outdoors for parades and fireworks. Female mosquitoes feed on the blood of the living, and can transmit extremely harmful or even deadly diseases like West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever. Some authorities even argue that mosquitoes are the most deadly animals on earth.

Since September 2012, the Center for Disease Control reports some 3,142 cases of the West Nile virus disease in people, including 134 deaths. These numbers continue to grow. Don’t add to them this Independence Day. Make sure you wear mosquito repellant with DEET while you are outside celebrating.

Happy July 4th!

All of us bug guys here at blogpestcontrol.com and Bulwark Exterminating would like to wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day! Spend some time with family and friends, eat way too much potato salad, marvel at the stunning firework shows, and reflect on all of the blessings that are bestowed upon us as we live in the greatest country on Earth! Happy July 4th!

 

Pest Control- Weekly Links

Pest Control- Weekly Links

 

Pest Control Links Round-Up
Pest Control Links Round-Up

Carpenter Ant Awareness Week

This week is carpenter ant awareness week. How can you spot carpenter ants? Where are they found? What can you do to prevent them? Here’s what you need to know. More…

Bird Mites

Here’s an article discussing the appearance, lifecycle, habits, and behavior of bird mites. More…

Have You Seen the Asian Tiger Mosquito?

Our pest of the week is the Asian Tiger Mosquito. Turns out that this flying pest is also common in California. Here’s what you need to know. More…

Asian Cockroaches In Charlotte, NC

Out of all the different species of cockroaches, the Asian cockroach just might be the most difficult to control. One of the reasons these roaches are so difficult to control, is because they can fly. In fact, Asian cockroaches have been known to fly well over 120 feet. More…

Dealing with Fire Ants Near Your House

Fire ants are considered to be one the most dangerous pests in North America. With the ability to attack and kill small animals and inject venom that may cause an allergic reaction in some people, they’re one pest you simply don’t want near your home. More…

Pest Of The Week: The Asian Tiger Mosquito

 

Asian Tiger MosquitoWith black and white striped legs, similar to that of a tiger, the Asian Tiger Mosquito has become a serious pest control issue throughout much of the Eastern United States. These flying pests are actually native to the tropics of Southern Asia, but were unintentionally transported to the United States around 1985; in a shipment of used tires.

Recently, states like New Jersey have had an influx of Asian Tiger Mosquitoes, with reports of huge swarms descending on the state. These mosquitoes are closely associated with humans, more so than other species of mosquitoes, because they are not attributed strictly to wetlands. Additionally, while most mosquitoes only bite during the dawn and dusk hours, the Asian Tiger Mosquito will bite and feed all day long; even during the daytime.

Links Roundup: Pest Control News For The Week

Links Roundup: Pest Control News For The Week

 

Weekly Links RoundupInsects That Look Worse Than They Are

Bugs like the praying mantis, dragonfly, spider, and scarab beetle all look menacing. These insects’ bark is worse then their bite. They are actually quite beneficial. More…

Beware The Bug: Fire Ants – The Dangerous Home Invader

Fire ants pose a serious health risk, particularly to small children or family pets. They are known to have a strong, painful and persistent sting that often leaves a pustule on the skin. Left untreated, fire ant bites can become infected and in a few extreme cases, have been reported fatal. More…

Pest Control Tip: Beware Of Mites!

The microscopic mite can be found almost anywhere, just not outdoors. The house dust mite is the most common, but there are several other types of mites that can cause itchiness and skin irritation. More…

Pest Control: Mosquitoes

With the warmer weather just around the corner, the West Nile carrying mosquito will be making it’s dreaded appearance  Here are some tips for dealing with the annoying pests. More…

Pest Control Tip: De-Grub Your Lawn

It is estimated that grubs cause more than $234 million in property damages every year. Grubs are the offspring of Japanese beetles. Before they set up shop in your trees, they lay their eggs underground. The white c-shaped larvae hatch and immediately begin feeding upon the root system of your turf. More…

 

Pest Of The Week: The Wolf Spider

 

Burrowing wolf spider defending its egg sac.
Burrowing wolf spider defending its egg sac. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the more common spider pests in the United States is the wolf spider. These spiders garnered their nickname not because of their large, hairy, wolf like appearance, but because they were once thought to hunt in packs like wolves. Wolf spiders are excellent hunters. They do not build webs, but patiently wait in underground burrows for an unsuspecting cricket or cockroach.

Wolf spiders are brown in color, and can reach lengths of well over an inch. Their appearance is well known because of the Union Jack (British flag) impression on their backs. Although intimidating in appearance, wolf spiders don’t usually bite unless they are in danger or provoked. Wolf spiders are venomous.

Homeowners will frequently see these wolf spiders in their homes during the cooler months of the year. They enter homes looking for other insects to eat, and refuge from the elements. Even though the wolf spider’s venom is not lethal, their bites can cause health concerns. Traditional spider control methods are need for wolf spider elimination.

 

Links Roundup- Pest Control Articles For The Week

Links Roundup- Pest Control Articles For The Week 

Weekly Links RoundupSquirrel Gets a Jolt, Leaves 4,500 in Dark

It wasn’t a big storm with hurricane-force winds that knocked out power for thousands. More…

Natural Methods to Eliminate Lice from Hair

Lets hope you never need this advice; but just in case, McDonald Pest Control offers advice on getting rid of a hair lice infestation. More…

Termite Season Is Here & So Are Termite Swarmers

Is it possible to see termites on your property and not have a termite infestation? With spring almost upon us, and termite swarmers resurging, you better be well informed. Walker Pest Management of South Carolina has some advice on termites. More…

Ants: There’s Never Just One

In addition to the painful ant bites that go along with certain kinds of ants, there are some ants that can also destroy your property. More…

Bed Bugs Spreading to Theaters, Schools and Office Buildings

Bedbugs are not just hiding in the mattresses and bedding of dilapidated trailer parks, but can be found in schools, theaters, nursing homes, dormitories, and office buildings. Learn more about bedbugs from Accuracy Pest Control by clicking here.

Understanding Silverfish and What You Can Do to Prevent Them

You can find silverfish anywhere in your home or office, but they particularly love dark, damp places such as attics, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and more.

Pest Of The Week: The Red Imported Fire Ant

Fire Ants are an example of a social insect sp...

Making their way into the United States in the late 1930’s, the malicious Red imported Fire ant has spread to most of the southern states. Because of their impact on properties, on human health, and their environmental impact; Red Imported Fire ants easily take the cake for the worst ant pest. They build huge mounds, reaching nearly eight feet deep. These mounds can easily destroy the trees and plants on your property. On top of their damaging effects, they can also sting and bite. Red Imported Fire ant stings are very painful, and have even lead to death in rare cases.

Red Imported Fire ants have dark red bodies, with black abdomens. They can reach lengths of almost 1/4 of an inch, and are notorious for their very aggressive nature. When bothered, fire ants will pour out of their mounds and assault any impostor by stinging them numerous times. if you are having problems with fire ants, get ant control!

 

Pest Control For Fire Ants

fire_ant_worker1
fire_ant_worker1 (Photo credit: bart_drees)

The following article is intended for pest control professionals and homeowners alike, who are in need of some answers when it comes to dealing with fire ants. If you are a homeowner who is battling fire ants on your property, please seek the assistance of an ant control professional before attempting to exterminate these dangerous ants.

Fire Ants

The Red Imported Fire ant is one of the worst ant pests in the Southern United States in terms of human health, property damage, and environmental damage. If you are a pest control professional in states like: Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and North Carolina; you likely take frequent calls from homeowners that are battling these nasty pests.

Pest Control For Fire Ants

Unfortunately, treating fire ants isn’t as easy as heading to your local hardware store and picking up an aerosol pesticide to spray on a mound. Over-the-counter sprays will only kill a few of the ants. The remaining ants will leave the nest and return when the pesticide dissipates.

Some pest control operators will only sprinkle an insecticide over a mound. This is ineffective in controlling the whole colony because most fire ant mounds have multiple queens; and colonies may be spread over unseen areas and across multiple properties.

Texas A&M University has developed a couple of effective fire ant control strategies, developed through years of research. They include a one step wide area treatment or two step bait and mound treatment. The two step method works best in fully infested areas (five or more mounds per quarter-acre of yard).

(Solenopsis invicta) This photo shows a colony...
(Solenopsis invicta) This photo shows a colony of reddish brown fire ants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One Step Wide Area Treatment

If a homeowner is only dealing with a few fire ants, this wide area treatment is effective. It may require cooperation from other homeowners, as the infesting ants may be coming from multiple properties.

Using this method, a pest control professional distributes a granular product containing Fipronil over a property once a year, preferably in the early spring. Spread two pounds of Fipronil per 1000 square feet. Fipronil granular products, like TopChoice and Taurus G, are slow-acting but have season-long control. Best results will not be seen for six weeks after application. Treat a property evenly, and lightly water after the granules have been applied.

If the Fipronil granules are distributed after April, an additional application of fast acting fire ant baits may be necessary to reduce the fire ant population. The fire ants will be very active long before the Fipronil ever kicks in.

It’s important to note that this fire ant extermination method is ineffective a controlling other species of foraging ants, as it’s not a barrier treatment.

Fire Ants
Fire Ants (Photo credit: Marufish)

Two Step Bait & Mound Treatment

The two step bait and mound treatment approach has been proven effective at controlling fire ants, and is ideal for highly infested areas. During the first step of treatment, a pest control professional will distribute a fire ant bait insecticide over a property in the early spring or late fall. A few weeks after the baits have been applied to a property; the pest professional will treat each mound with an approved mound drench, granule, or dust pesticide.

Baits

One of the more environmentally sound ways to treat fire ants, is with baits. These baits are a combination of insecticide and corn. A fire ant worker will find the bait, bring it back to the nest, and share it with his friends and the queen. After ingesting the poisoned food, the ants will die.

Look for fire ant bait with one or more of the following active ingredients: indoxacarb, abamectin, s-methoprene, hydromethylnon, or pyriproxyfen. Put these baits down evenly throughout the property, when the ground is dry, and when you’re not expecting rain for the next 48 hours. Late afternoons and evening work best for baiting, as that’s when fire ants are actively foraging. Make sure the bait is fresh, and do not mix it with other substances like fertilizer.

Mound Treatments

Texas Fire Ant Nest in October
Texas Fire Ant Nest in October (Photo credit: gurdonark)

A week or two after the application of fire ant bait, a pest control professional must chemically treat each individual ant mound with dusts, drenches, or granules.

Liquid drenches generally eliminate ants in mounds within a few hours and leave little surface residue after application. Use a long injection probe to apply Temprid SC, Tempo or Suspend under high pressure into mounds.

Granular products are rather fast acting. They require putting granules on and around the mound and then sprinkling one to two gallons of water on without alarming the fire ants inside the mound. Maxforce Complete Granular Insect Bait provides fast knockdown and long-term control.

Ant Control

As previously mentioned; if you are a property owner who is battling fire ants, please seek the assistance of an ant control professional before attempting to exterminate these dangerous ants.

Read more about fire ant control methods at: http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/