Fire ants are an increasing problem in many parts of the country, and measures need to be taken to control them as soon as their presence is detected. If left unmolested, these insects can quickly spread and pose a danger to both humans and animals.
While it can be nearly impossible to eradicate fire ants entirely once they have established themselves, there are effective fire ant treatments that can be used to control and contain them. By doing so, you can keep the problems that they cause to a minimum.
There are three main types of fire ant treatments. The first type involves the use of granular baits. These combine a food that attracts fire ants with a slow-acting insecticide or other toxin. Foraging ants carry these baits back to the nest, where they are fed to the larvae and spread throughout the colony. Because the toxin is slow-acting, it can spread through the whole colony before it starts to kill any ants.
Granular baits are easy to use and do not pose any threat to humans or other animals. However, they work better as preventative treatments. If large colonies have already established themselves on your property, granular baits may be ineffective in eradicating them.
Mound treatments involve drenching individual mounds with fast-acting contact poisons. They can be found in both dry and liquid form. While they kill fire ants quite quickly and can be effective in eliminating large mounds, you can only use them on mounds that are visible.
There are often other, smaller colonies near a large mound that you cannot see because they are hidden underground. Combining a mound treatment with granular baits can be effective in ridding your yard of fire ants. Be sure to use enough of the treatment to thoroughly soak the mound so that you kill all of the ants.
Finally, broadcast insecticide treatments are spread over a large area of soil. By treating the soil, you can kill any ants that come in contact with the poison. Since these products are expensive and must be spread over a large area, they are best used in sensitive parts of your yard, such as near a deck or a child’s playset.
There is no single form of treatment that is more effective than others in eliminating fire ants. By combining these three forms of fire ant treatments, you can give yourself the best chance to rid your yard of these pests.
For additional information about the treatment of fire ants, check out the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project.