Lawn Pests

AMERICAN LAWN GUIDE

simple lawn care tips for greener healthier backyard lawns
Fire Ants Lawns

Fire ants are a major cause of concern to everyone who experiences them in their yards, even worse are when these little nasties sting, creating an immense amount of pain and swelling in their victims. Fire ants must be treated thoroughly and effectively whenever and wherever they are seen, and as soon as possible.

Identifying Fire Ants

To treat Fire Ants effectively, we must first confirm that we indeed do have this species of ant. There are many native ant types around the Southern States which do more good than harm, so we don't want to disturb them by accident.

If we've been stung by fire ants in your yard before, and even worse, more than once, we'll be sure to remember the immense pain, and to recognize fire ants immediately, as well as being aware that they are a persistent problem in the lawn or yard.

Fire ants can be both red and black, they often have many numerous mounds that can be spotted close together. This is most often a single nest which has been split into different sub-sections, with each sub-section having its own Queen.

Fire Ant Nests

The nests of these ants can literally travel several yards underground away from the mound itself. A point which is important to remember when we begin a treatment plan.

Having multiple Queens makes the job of killing Fire Ants that much worse, without killing each and every Queen, the Fire Ants will quickly repopulate new colonies very quickly. So our efforts in controlling Fire Ants will have been for nil.

Fire Ant Safety

If we're going to control and kill Fire Ants, we're going to need some serious protection. We're about to seriously aggravate and provoke them and there natural reaction will be to attack, and attack fast.

Be sure to wear some good solid boots and some thick long pants, grab some wide duct tape and tape the bottom of your pant legs to the boots, so entry to your leg area is totally restricted. Next thing is gloves, we're going to need some thick rubber gloves which can be purchased from a local hardware store. And lastly, some eye protection is an excellent idea, some fully sealed safety goggles / glasses which wrap around the eyes completely will be the safest. The boots can also be powdered with talc as an added protective measure.

The reason for the extra protection is that we're going to be digging into the soil mounds of the Fire Ants, a simple mistaken slip could flick the Fire Ants onto the face or hands.

If Fire Ants are becoming extremely aggressive while you're applying control measures, then it may be wise to leave the area and return after they've calmed down a little.

If You Get Stung By A Fire Ant

The first thing a Fire Ant will do if attacking is to grab hold of its victim by biting, this gives the Fire Ant a grip in order to apply its sting. If you do feel this bite before the sting then brush the Fire Ant off as fast as possible, and you may just be lucky enough to avoid the pain altogether.

Environmental Control Of Fire Ants

The first step in controlling Fire Ants is to make your property unwelcoming to them, so remove any old firewood, and debris from around the property, if we can find any other obvious food sources for Fire Ants, then remove these permanently too.

Killing Fire Ants

There are two main methods to control Fire Ants, and it's a good idea to utilize both of these. The most important thing to remember is that when we begin Fire Ant treatment, our aim must be to kill all of them to the best of our ability. A partial attempt does little if nothing to overcome massive infestations.

The first step is to get some baits which are specifically made for killing Fire Ants, these can be spread around the lawn and yard as a basic beginning to our task. Fire Ant baits are slow acting, they can keep working for several months as long as they aren't deteriorated by the environment too much, such as too much water etc. Baits are slow acting and will not control Fire Ants either quickly nor completely.

Step 2 is the use of a specially formulated Fire Ant Insecticide, be certain when purchasing that the insecticide we are buying is for Fire Ants as other insecticides will often not work at all.

This Fire Ant Insecticide must be poured down all the nests.

Prepare the insecticide in a watering can as guided by the product instructions. Mark the can "Fire Ants" and never use it for any other purpose. Be full prepared before beginning, once we start this task we don't want to stop, and we want to finish it as fast as possible. So get all the safety gear on, and grad a broom stick.

Once all prepared, we want to get the broom stick down deep into the mound of the Fire Ants and create a nice big opening. Beware, the Fire Ants will be angry and aggressive so work quickly, now pour the mixture down the mound through the opening you've created.

This needs to be repeated on every Fire Ant mound.

Use your best judgement here... if the Fire Ants in surrounding mounds are highly aggressive since you started the first treatment, then stop and leave it for a little while. Once we're confident to begin the next treatment, keep repeating until all mounds have been treated.

Ongoing Fire Ant Control

After this initial major assault on the Fire Ant populations, we're in front and ahead of the game, but we cannot rest yet. Some Fire Ants will have remained and will begin new colonies. Keep checking the yard and lawn for new mounds, and treat as soon as they are seen.

Fire ants are just another aspect of lawn care, which when treated properly will be able to be overcome, just like other lawn pests.