A Little Something On Fire Ants
July 30, 2015
They are the meanest, nastiest, and most dangerous critters in town. They are the John Dillinger of pests and they’re moving in on your turf! Yes, you guessed it, maybe with a little help from the blog title, fire ants; specifically, red imported fire ants. Red imported fire ants are notorious for their sting that can sometimes cause painful burning and anaphylactic shock. Not to be too dramatic, but something needs to be said about these outlaws of the ant world.
Let’s start from the top. Red imported fire ants breed in the air. Yes, you read that right; ants breed in the AIR. The kings and the queens have wings, and during the spring and early summer, they like to fly away from the nest to mate. After mating, the females land within a mile of their nest with the intent on starting their own colony. Ants are extremely quick to reproduce so it’s not uncommon to see up to 150 mounds in one acre. A mound consists of at least one queen and upwards of 240,000 workers, which are males and sterile females. The workers scavenge for food up to 100 feet from the mound and bring back solids and liquids to feed the larvae and queen. The liquids are stored by the workers at the food site, and regurgitated back at the nest, feeding the rest of the colony and the older larvae can ingest the solids.
How can we protect ourselves and our pets from their burning sting? It would be too easy if I left it at: “Don’t step on the mounds.” We learn this from our mothers at a young age. In our three-year-old encyclopedia of knowledge, “Don’t step on the anthill!” falls somewhere between: “Sharing is caring,” and “Eat your veggies." When it comes to eliminating the fire ant problem around your yard, fire ant control is the answer.
Controlling fire ants, like most other pest control, is best done through the help of a professional pest control program. Do-it-yourself ant control remedies are dangerous, inconclusive and not effective at stopping your ant problem at the source; the queen. Here at Nozzle Nolen Pest Solutions we utilize a few different options for eliminating and controlling fire ants. These strategies include broadcast baiting and mound injection.
Broadcast baiting is a strategy that disguises the pest control product in a slow-dissolving bait, which is usually dissolved in an oil and absorbed into a corn feed and then spread around the property, with approximately one ounce for every 2,000 square feet. With broadcast baiting, the ants bring the bait back to the nest to feed the colony. This will eliminate the entire colony, including the queen, making broadcast baiting an extremely effective strategy.
Mound injection is an individual mound strategy that injects the pest control product directly into the mound. The theory behind this strategy is that since the queen most usually resides up to four feet below the surface of the mound, the mound injection wand is effective in getting the pest control product deep enough to affect her. In order to completely eliminate the whole colony, the queen must be killed.
Why are home remedies the least effective in fire ant control? Home remedies and do-it-yourself products most likely will not take out the queen. You may think that pouring boiling water on a mound, or using that other product that you purchased at the store has made that colony disappear, but look at that new mound that just recently popped close by. It’s the same colony! They’ve just relocated. To eliminate the colony, you must eliminate the queen. We know that fire ant control is not just a quick remedy. It involves taking steps to completely eliminate the existing colony, and to discourage the issue of any future colonies.
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