If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to get fire ant control. These bugs are not skittish like spiders or centipedes. They are extremely aggressive if they feel you’re threatening their colony. They can make yard work like mowing the lawn impossible. Their bites can cause extreme pain and, in severe cases, result in trips to the ER. For today’s blog, we’ll show you exactly what you’re dealing with and why it’s so important to leave fire ant control to a trained pest control service.
Fire ants may seem like a normal part of life in warmer climates, but they are not native to the US. This invasive species was accidentally brought to the US from South America around a century ago. It’s believed they hitchhiked in imported fruit crates.
Fire ants are very similar in appearance to other native ant species, like pavement ants. Fire ants are about 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length and can appear red or blackish. They’re smaller than other ants and far more aggressive if they perceive you as a threat. A “threat” could be something as simple as mowing the lawn too close to their mound. Or attempting to brush them out of the yard. They can quickly organize a swarm and attack. That’s why it’s so important to contact a fire ant control company rather than deal with them on your own.
Fire ant bites are extremely painful, and some people even have life-threatening allergic reactions. They can cause pustules that cause discomfort for 24 hours. If you’ve been bitten, make sure to leave the area quickly before more fire ants arrive. If you see any ants on your skin or clothing, make sure to kill them quickly and remove the piece of clothing if possible, in case fire ants are clinging to it. Wash the bite(s) carefully with soap to eliminate lingering venom and disinfect the area. Use a cool rag or icepack to calm the bite for 15 minutes. Afterward, apply a diluted bleach solution, calamine lotion, cortisone cream, or take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl. As tempting as it is, don’t scratch the pustule, or it could lead to infection. You may experience a burning sensation for several hours. If you experience difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, or weakness, call 911 as you may be experiencing a severe allergic reaction.
Fire ants may create mounds. They serve as an underground home and highway where they can pass without disturbance. These mounds look like larger ant hills. Once you’ve spotted a mound, you should take action. It takes a while to establish a mound, which means the infestation is well underway. You can get a general idea of how large the colony is by the size of the mound. It’s not an exact science, but the larger the mound, the larger the colony.
It’s impossible to get rid of every single ant. There may be a straggler or two, but the queen will be killed because her scouts will bring poison disguised as food to her. Without her, the colony can’t produce more ants. There are two ways to go about this:
This treatment targets the visible mound using a powderized bait, sometimes called “dust.” It is sprinkled over the mound and coats ants who will unknowingly carry the poison back to the queen. This type of treatment is good if you have a single mound, but it won’t prevent other colonies from forming. If you have multiple mounds on your property, we may need to go with an insecticide spray.
Insecticide treatments, also known as “contact insecticide,” are a slow-release poison. It’s ideal for yards with multiple mounds, and it can be used in conjunction with a mound treatment. If you have fire ants but they haven’t produced a mound, the insecticide will effectively kill the insects because they are still on the surface. Mound treatment is good for getting into the subterranean ant colony, while insecticide treats those at the surface.
If you’re wondering: “where can I find the best fire ant control near me,” wonder no more. The experts at Environmental Turf Management have dealt with these annoying insects for over 20 years. Our fire ant control program quickly knocks out colonies so you can reclaim your yard. Don’t let these harmful insects ruin your summer – call (770) 466-0234 or contact us online to learn more or schedule an appointment.