If you’ve lived in Georgia long, then you know the threat that fire ants pose to homeowners. These fiery red pests spring up in our lawns and if you, your children, or your pets are not careful, you could end up with a very bad and painful situation. Fire ant control here in Georgia is a necessity.
To most of us, fire ant stings are extremely painful, but the stings can be life-threatening for those allergic to fire ant venom. Just one sting can cause symptoms of anaphylaxis in a matter of minutes. If just one sting can do all that, imagine what an entire angry colony could do if you are unfortunate enough to stumble onto their nest.
Causing you physical pain is just one side effect of having fire ants. They can also do a great deal of damage to your grass. As the colony swells underground, the ants feed on the roots of grass and other plants. This will cause your grass to turn brown and die. So before you go spending money on fertilizer or grub control, make sure you identify the problem first.
Even though fire ants have been around since your grandparents were kids, they aren’t native to Georgia or even the United States. Their original home is in the jungles of South America. They arrived in Texas during the 1930s on fruit trucks and ships. They found the climate in the southern U.S. to be habitable and there were no predators to keep them in check so their population exploded.
People in the south quickly learned the hard way that these foreign fire ants were much more ill-tempered than their North American counterparts. They were also much hardier and resistant to ant control products of the time.
Identification is step-one when it comes to fire ant control. Knowing imported fire ants from other types of ants is pretty hard if you don’t know what to look for. It may take some close (and careful) observations to properly identify them.
Usually, the first signs of fire ant activity are the dirt mounds but, by the time you see them, the colony is already incredibly large. Colonies can reach up to half a million ants and spread out over an acre. Use extreme caution when identifying fire ants.
The painful sting and fiery temperament of these ants must be respected. Don’t go into battle with these pests without a plan in place first. Your main target is not the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, but the fire ant queen herself. If you’ve seen any classic alien movie, then you know the only way to kill the hive is to kill the queen. That’s exactly what you need to do to control fire ants. With the queen dead, the demoralized ants will leave or die and, most importantly, they won’t reproduce.
There is no quick method of eliminating fire ants. Treating the nest or mound is a safe and effective method but doesn’t work 100% of the time. How it works is, poison is spread over the mound. These poisons rely on the worker ants to unwittingly hand deliver the poison to the queen like some medieval plot to usurp the throne. The workers are attracted to the poison, eat it, take it back to the queen, and feed it to her. This method works well at destroying the colony, however, it does not stop new colonies from moving in.
There are also products that are long-lasting and keep fire ants at bay all year long. These insecticides are usually applied in the early spring and spread evenly throughout your yard. If done right, it should prevent fire ants from colonizing your yard.
Of course, if you want to really get rid of these pests, then you should call someone who knows how to handle them. The professionals at Environmental Turf Management have years of experience dealing with fire ants. First, our fire ant extermination team will carefully assess your property for fire ant activity. Then, we will come up with an effective, affordable solution to your problem.