Fire ants could possibly be the most lethal of the ant species. Both versions be it the Red Imported Fire Ants and Black Imported Fire ants can be quite dangerous to you and your home. They are very aggressive with their sting causing reactions which range from irritation and nausea to severe allergic reactions or illness. It’s for this reason that you need to be very cautious in dealing with fire ants.
Appearance and Behavior
Fire ants are quite aggressive and territorial in nature. They are known for attacking animals that intrude on their nesting areas. Apart from causing harm to people and animals, fire ants cause significant damage to plants, buildings, air conditioners and telephone wires. There isn’t a clear cut explanation why, but fire ants are very attracted to electrical currents and can even cause damage by creating nests in places like electrical junction boxes.
In terms of population of fire ants, you need to keep in mind that nests have either the single queen nests or multiple queen nest types.
In single queen colonies, worker ants are territorial and will forage for food only within their territory. Multiple queen colonies however is a bigger nuisance to tackle. Workers from multiple queen colonies aren’t territorial, and they freely move from one mound to another. This leads to an increase in the number of mounds in area, which would be harder to get rid off, and a lot more fire ants.
Keep in mind the number of mounds and ants can be quite a lot. Infested areas featuring single queen colonies can contain around 40-150 mounds per acre (7 million ants per acre). In areas with multiple queen colonies, there can be the presence of 200 plus mounds and around 40 million ants per acre!
Fire ants can build their colonies in mounds in almost any type of terrain. They mostly prefer to build them in sunny open areas like pastures, parks, lawns, meadows and cultivated fields. You can even spot some colonies under buildings.
Fire ant mounds containing colonies can be as tall as 18 inches, depending on the type of soil. You can spot a lot of these tall mounds
The Red Imported Fire Ant builds mounds in almost any type of soil, but prefers open, sunny areas such as pastures, parks, lawns, meadows, and cultivated fields. Colonies can also be located in or under buildings.
Mounds containing colonies can reach 18 inches in height, depending on the type of soil. Many a times mounds are located in rotting logs and around stumps and trees.
You must always remember to wear proper protective gear around fire ant mounds. Fire ants secrete very painful venom that can lead to fainting and allergic reactions. Fire ants also leave out pheromones that signal other ants to come and attack, leading to a massive group assault that can prove fatal.
Ways to reduce Fire ant infestations
Trying to figure out how to get rid of a fire ant infestation can be a very daunting task, especially on your own. While there a few native species of fire ants the most common species you will find is the red imported fire ant or the black imported fire ant. You need to keep in mind clearing fire ants from your yard is a completely different ball game compared to clearing fire ants from your yard.
The best time to take care of a fire ant infestation would be during the late spring and early fall months when they are most active. While there is a long list of methods to get rid of fire ants, none of them are as effective as calling in a professional pest control agency. If you feel that your fire ant problem is manageable to fix on your own you can opt to try out these methods:
Baiting Fire Ants
If you prefer the slow burn effect in getting rid of pests then you can opt to use baits to get rid of your fire ant issue. Baits are slow acting in comparison to other methods and take months on end to get the desired effect. Nonetheless, they are the most effective as they attain 80 to 90% fire ant pest control.The most commonly used baits are corn bits. Foraging fire ants take back the tainted food item back into the lair. The bait is then consumed by the queen and the other ants in the colony. The ants then die because of the poison coated on the corn bits.
Using baits is a very eco friendly method to pest control as it has the least toxicity. This ensures all the plant in around your home is unaffected by chemicals that would usually be used to get rid of the ants. The baits are also spread over a wide area which make it easier to focus on many ant mounds.
Drenching Fire Ant mounds:
This is a more immediate method to getting rid of fire ants. This is most effective if you have only a single mound or two of fire ants to deal with. The method is simple and effective. Use store bought liquid pesticide directly onto the fire ant hill. The liquid pesticide penetrates to the lower underground levels of the mound and kills all the inhabitants in a matter of hours. Once these pesticides are applied, they level only slight residue on top of the mound.
Fire Ant Killing Granules and Dust:
Dust and Granules based pesticides work a bit differently to how liquid pesticides work. For one they leave out a bit more residue on top of the mound and takes time for it to wear off. The dust method involves buying dust pesticides and sprinkling them on the top of the fire ant mound. The dust will then work its magic in a days time or so.
Pesticide granules however, work even more differently. This is because they require water to activate them. The granules have to be placed in and around the mound and then gallons of water has to be slowly poured into the mound for the granules to dissolve and activate. An important tip when using any of these methods would be to wear tall rubber boots to prevent the ants from biting.
Leave It to the Professionals
Fire ants as you might know by now are a very difficult pest to get rid off. If your fire ant woes still persist even after trying all the methods above, it’s best you call in a pest control agency.
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