Fire Ants are dangerous and threaten our environment. Killing and getting rid of fire ants requires more than sprinkling some over the counter pesticide on their mound. Area wide control is easy if you have the right tools and use the correct methods. Learn the 2 control methods that work to get rid of Fire ants for good.
How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
Red Imported Fire ants can be found from a line south of St. Louis spreading to the east coast and parts of the west coast.
European Fire ants can be found up the east coast as far north as Maine. Little Fire ants can be found in central and southern Florida.
The sheer number of Fire ants in a single mound can be in the thousands. Their mounds can be up to 12″ high and pose a real threat to children, pets and animals. Applications of liquid and bait pesticides to these mounds are the only way to control them.
Professional quality baits and liquid pesticides will give the fastest and long term results.
Fire Ant Identification.
Fire ants are easily distinguishable from other ants due to having a very thin abdomen with “2” protruding nodes. These nodes can be easily seen without a magnifier.
Most Fire ants are red and darkish brown or black especially in the south. The Red imported Fire ant has the characteristic red thorax and head with a black abdomen. European fire ants can be solid brown to tan.
All of these ants are easy to recognize because of their constant stinging action and painful stings. Their stings leave whelps and can sometimes lead to a painful itchy rash that can also lead to infection. In some cases as with very young children or the elderly, fire ant attacks have been fatal.
Unlike honey bees which are only capable of stinging 1 time until they lose their stinger, all species of Fire ants can sting multiple times.
Red Imported Fire Ant
Size: 1/4″ – 1/2″
Color: Reddish brown, black
Control The Queens Using Growth Regulators.
Fire ants are polymorphic which means they have multiple queens. An individual mound can contain several hundred queens – not just a single queen.
Controlling the individual fire ant mounds and stopping their egg laying cycling is essential. Unless the mounds are eliminated – those that are above ground and underground, they will be a continual problem.
Left untreated, fire ants can multiply and spread over acres and acres of land with hundreds of mounds. This not only threatens people and animals, but can wipe out beneficial insects, frogs and lizards in these areas.
Using growth regulators to stop the egg laying cycle is the key to establishing fire ant control. Without the use of growth regulators (IGR’s), fire ants will multiply very rapidly.
Mound control alone is often not sufficient to kill and get rid of fire ants, especially over large areas of land.
Fire ants are a significant health and environmental threat in the southern parts of the United States. The great horned lizard (horny toad) in Texas is thought to have been virtually wiped out by fire ants.
Locate The Mounds.
The key to fire ant control is to locate all mounds, treat them and prevent their recurrence with Insect Growth Regulators (IGR’s) such as Award II Fire Ant Bait.
Award II Fire Ant Bait contains a growth regulator (IGR) that helps limit re-infestation of treated areas. This works especially well on large lawns, acreages, golf courses, pastures, etc. Award II is the most common Fire Ant Bait used by golf course managers.
2 applications per year – 1 in the spring and another in the fall will give almost 98% control over the treated areas.
Insect growth regulators will help to sterilize the queens and also prevent immature ants from maturing. This process is instrumental in establishing a fire ant control program, especially over large tracts of land.
Preventing fire ants from reproducing can save a lot of money and also save countless hours of individual mound treatments.
#1 – Use a Professional Quality Fire Ant Bait.
Granular insecticides such as Talstar, Bifen LP and others are not baits. When water or rain is applied, the insecticide washes off the particle (usually sand or clay) and into the soil. This does little to control Fire ant mounds that are several feet deep under the ground. This is why granule insecticides are not recommended for Fire ant control.
A Fire ant “bait” on the other hand, is a food based product that is carried back to the mound by the worker ants. The particles often consist of vegetable by products and “absorb” the insecticide. This bait is then fed to the immature ants within the mound and they regurgitate a liquid that the workers consume. Worker Fire ants or any ant other than an immature ant cannot feed on solid foods. They can only feed on liquids.
This is why most ants food sources consist of honeydew (secreted by aphids), plant juices and insect juices. Worker ants are not capable of feeding on solids.
Advion Fire Ant Bait contains Indoxacarb. Indoxacarb is the fastest acting fire ant bait on the commercial market. It controls fire ants and their nests in 72 hours or less.
It is carried by back to the ant mounds by the workers and then fed to the ant population. It is then spread throughout the nest by means of food sharing by the worker ants.
Indoxacarb is non-repellent to the ants which means that they cannot detect it. This greatly encourages feeding and the consumption of the bait. Death the entire nest can occur within 72 hours.
The main benefit of using Fire ant baits over large areas is not only the speed of application, but the low rate. 1 lb per acre is all that is needed in most cases to control them. This means that large areas such as golf courses, parks, football fields, and even growing areas can be treated for only a few dollars per acre.
#2 – Use a Liquid Surface Spray or a Mound Drench.
Bifen or Talstar can be used as a surface spray or a mound drench for immediate control of fire ants. The benefit of using liquid sprays is the fast kill. The downside is that there is no control of eggs or immature ants which could result in reinfestation in a short time.
Another downside is that it normally takes 1 gallon per 1,000 square feet of area to spray, plus the added amount needed to drench individual mounds. 3-5 gallons per mound may be necessary. This could amount to hundreds of gallons of liquid pesticide being needed to spray several acres.
A outdoor perimeter application of a liquid insecticide such as Termidor helps to prevent their entry into homes.
In and around slab foundations, fire ants can build mounds in wall voids by entering the structure from below and following plumbing lines. Bath traps, shower stalls, and hot water heater walls are particularly well suited areas for fire ants.
Termidor can also be used inside of walls and plumbing penetrations to kill fire ants that have built nests in these areas.
Use Liquid Bait Around Food Crops and Gardens.
Food crops, gardens, vineyards, and organic growing areas require special treatment of Fire ants. Using liquid pesticides won’t work and granular baits can be ineffective if their is a competing food source.
KM Ant Pro Liquid Ant Bait dispensers provide fire ant control in areas where ground baits or liquid pesticides are undesirable or will not work. These dispensers contain liquid bait and provide uninterrupted feeding for up to 90 days. Using a liquid bait will control the workers resulting in overall control of the mounds.
Related Article: Ant Control in Vineyards, Agriculture and Food Crops
The KM Ant Pro dispensers are self contained, waterproof, virtually spill proof and indestructible. 8 dispensers are needed for an average acre and will control not only Fire ants, but Argentine ants, Ghost ants, Thief ants and other invasive ant species.