Fired up about elim­i­nat­ing fire ants

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLES - By Ricky Ens­ley Polk County Ex­ten­sion Co­or­di­na­tor

Re­cently I at­tended a sem­i­nar about fire ants. One of the fact I got from the sem­i­nar is the above ground mound we see is only onethird of the ac­tual colony it­self. This is one of the rea­sons our foe, the fire ant, is hard to elim­i­nate. I HATE FIRE ANTS!

There is a two-step method to help con­trol fire ants.

The first step is to use baits. Ap­ply baits twice a year in spring and fall. This is a fairly in­ex­pen­sive way of prevent­ing ants. It may cost about $25.00 an acre to treat with baits. Use the baits ac­cord­ing to la­bel di­rec­tions when ants are ac­tively look­ing for food. Ants take the bait into the mound and feed them to each other. Be pa­tients. Baits work slowly. The baits slow- ly kill the fire ant colony.

Killing the queen is very im­por­tant in con­trol­ling fire ants. The queen re­mains in the mound and re­pro­duces while other ants go out and build the mound and find food. You can kill many of the for­ag­ing ants, but you must kill the queen to de­stroy the mound. This is why spray­ing the ground or the mounds or us­ing gran­u­lar in­sec­ti­cides are not gen­er­ally good ways of con­trol­ling fire ants.

The sec­ond step is to treat prob­lem ant colonies. In­di­vid­ual mound treat­ment is the fastest way to get rid of in­di­vid­ual colonies. In­di­vid­ual mound treat­ment prod­ucts in­clude the gran­u­lar prod­ucts, liq­uid drenches, and the dry dust prod­uct acephate. For small yards or just a few mounds, you may only have to use the in­di­vid­ual mound treat­ments to con­trol all of your fire ants.

Bait in­cludes prod­ucts with the ac­tive in­gre­di­ents: hy­dram­ethyl­non, abamectin, fipronil, pyriprozyfen, spinosad, and metho­prene.

Mound treat­ment prod­ucts have ac­tive in­gre­di­ents with cyfluthrin, d-limonene, deltamethrin, car­baryl, pyrethrins, acephate and per­me­thrin.

Sev­eral “or­ganic” prod­ucts will con­trol fire ants. Ex­am­ples in­clude spinosad (bait), cit­rus oil (dlimonene), and pyrethrins or pine oil. Some or­ganic prod­ucts may cost more and act more slowly than con­ven­tional pes­ti­cides.

Boil­ing wa­ter (about 3 gal­lons per mound) can elim­i­nate some fire ant colonies. This method is the treat­ment choice for any colonies around well heads.

When us­ing any pes­ti­cide, read and fol­low di­rec­tions care­fully.

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