Imported fire ants have been the target of innumerable methods of control. Unfortunately, there are no control methods that will permanently eliminate fire ants from an area. Four strategies have traditionally been used to control fire ants: |
Of all the fire ant species, the red imported one is the most aggressive, widespread, and difficult to control. The ants live in large mounds and attack in swarms. There are always home remedies that have been tried, with varying degrees of success/failure although some of these would have to be applied with extreme caution as to whether you can legally do it and what the consequences of something going wrong would be.
Fire ants prefer to construct mounds in areas that are open and exposed to the sun. They are often found in cultivated fields or pastures. They are rarely found in wooded locations with heavy tree canopy. In urban areas, they will nest in cemeteries, parks, playing fields, and yards.
Individuals and commercial pest control operators residing outside of the quarantined area should not attempt to treat fire ant infestations.
When treating individual fire ant mounds, it is extremely important that the mound remain undisturbed prior to treatment. Drenches, dusts or granules must come in direct contact with the ants to be effective. Disturbing the mound may cause the workers to move the queen or even the entire colony to another location.
Individual mound treatments may take the form of a drench, where the mound is flooded with a large volume of liquid insecticide labeled for this purpose. This is the fastest acting method of fire ant management. Unfortunately, the queen may be located too deep in the soil to be destroyed by the insecticide, in which case, control will only be temporary. Injection devices to aid in the deep penetration of liquid insecticide are readily available for professional pest control personnel, but these devices are relatively expensive for homeowners to purchase.
Fire ants are extremely aggressive when disturbed.
Individual mounds may also be treated with a surface application of dust or granular formulation insecticide. Read the product label and apply these products according to the directions. Some granular or dust formulations may require that the product be applied around the mound instead of directly on it. Direct application to the mound often will anger the ants, causing them to run out. This behavior may or may not help the product work. Also, determine from the label if the product needs to be "watered-in." Many dry formulations are more effective when they are watered into the soil. Dust and granular application are typically slower and less effective than mound drenching. However, they require no specialized equipment and are easier for the homeowner to use.
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