Fire Ant – Control

Fire ants can be a real problem in home lawns. While they do not directly affect the grass, they can cause damage to mowers and other maintenance equipment. They also sting people and pets, making the lawn an uninhabitable area.

There are three methods of control for killing fire ants. The first is mound drenches. Mound drenches use a small volume of chemical mixed with water. Chemicals that could be used in mound drenches include permethrin, deltamethrin, esfenvalerate, etc.

Follow the label directions for these products. Mix them in a bucket or sprinkle can, marking either of them clearly as poison. Surround the mound with two circles of chemical. Pour the rest of the mixture down through the center.

It’s important not to disturb the mound before you begin treatment. It’s human nature to want to kick the top of mound to watch those little guys die. However, damaging the mound causes worker ants to rush the queen even deeper belowground.

The next treatment that you can use involves broadcast poisons, such as Amdro, Over ‘n’ Out. Once and Done or Conserve. These materials are either stomach poisons or a chemical which prevents production of the worker ants in the colony. Indoxacarb (Spectracide Once and Done Fire Ant Bait) rapidly kills fire ants in mounds and has very little residual effect on other organisms. Fipronil (Garden Tech Over ‘n Out)is a contact insecticide granule that takes nearly a month to work, but gives residual fire ant control for about a year.

The third treatment is powdered insecticides. These tend to be the least effective in terms of killing active mounds.

Best Control: Do the Two-Step

One of the best means of control is to use a broadcast treatment, followed in twenty-four hours by a mound drench. Remember to follow all label precautions carefully.

ORGANIC CONTROL: 

Spread a bait containing the organic bacterial insecticide spinosad (Green Light Fire Ant Control, Bulls Eye, Justice).

Then drench the mound with a product containing orange oil (Citrex, Safer Fire Ant Killer, Orange Guard, etc).

Don’t do this:

Gasoline does not work and is NOT RECOMMENDED. This is extremely dangerous to use and will kill the turf grass and can sterilize the soil.

Grits and some of the other home-made remedies you have heard about “over the fence” are totally INEFFECTIVE and repeated research has proven them to be so.

Putting club soda in the mound does not work!

20 Questions (and good answers) about Fire Ants

fire ant Randy Westbrooks Bugwood.org

fire ant photo courtesy of Randy Westbrooks Bugwood.org

mound drench

mound drenchfire ants

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