Fire Ants Have Awakened In Force
A few weeks ago a close friend was taking her pet turtle for a walk to enjoy the first dandelions of spring when she (the friend) was bit by a fire ant. She was no stranger to the sting, but this time “it felt different.” Turns out, that was the first time she ever had an allergic reaction to a fire ant bite. An ambulance ride and epinepherine shot later and she was determined to eliminate the problem in her yard. Nothing like a not-quite near death experience to harden your resolve.
What To Use
There are lots of programs on the market to help you deal with fire ants, all of which have their merits. Ignoring the problem can be akin to playing with fire (pun intended). After years and lots of – or no – fire ant bites, an allergy can develop which can too easily turn deadly. Addressing fire ants in the landscape is an imperative wherever you spend any appreciable amount of time. Choose your product based on cost, speed of action, and duration of control.
Keys To Success
All of the commonly available fire ant baits are effective, although there are a few different ways in which they work. To be successful, follow the label instructions on a fresh (less than a year old) container of fire ant bait. Apply in temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees, because that is when active foraging takes place. There should be no rain in the forecast for at least four hours after application, a longer rain-free period is even better.
The most effective way to keep fire ants under control is with regular treatment using a bait-type product. Contact killers can be effective, but if the queen of the colony is not killed, it is likely that the colony will rebuild. Baits are highly effective in colony elimination because of the way fire ant biology and social structures work. The reason for consistent scheduled treatments is that colonies may be mobile, and during swarm season (spring through fall) the nucleus of a new colony, a newly mated flying queen fire ant, can arrive on a breeze. Killing the current problem is the beginning, but preventing new colonization is an ongoing battle.
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