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How To Effectively Manage Fire Ants

Summertime means enjoying the outdoors, kids running through sprinklers and neighborhood lawn parties, and it only takes a few fire ants to completely ruin a lovely summer day.  The red imported fire ant is commonly found throughout the warmer, southern regions of the United States.  This is an invasive species that was accidentally introduced to this country almost a century ago from South America.  Anyone who has experienced a fire ant bite will tell you how painful and unpleasant an experience it is.  Some individuals are even allergic to fire ant bites, and numerous bites can be a serious health risk. Fire ants aren’t typically an indoor problem, but even in the middle of your lawn they can be a serious issue, which is why it’s important to know how to handle these pests should you encounter them in your yard.

Most people assume that all fire ants are a reddish orange color, but some species are actually brown or black.  One helpful clue fire ants give us is that they create mounds in the yard, providing homeowners with a clear guide to their location. However, in the hottest, driest parts of the year these ants may not actively create mounds as they remain farther below the surface of the ground.  A variety of different types of ant baits can be found in hardware or home improvement stores.  These products can be used from spring to fall, and there are advantages to each season.  Whenever you decide to bait the mounds, it’s important to apply during a dry period so it is not washed away by rain. Additionally, regardless of season, you should apply the bait during the cooler part of the day. The most effective way to use ant bait products is following the 2-step method.  First, apply the bait all around the areas where mounds are present.  Next, each mound should be treated individually with one of the many available ant control products.

Some individuals prefer to avoid using any sort of pesticide and search for home remedies for fire ant problems.  There are many different tips for DIY fire ant control, but the majority of these methods are only minimally effective.  One of the most effective of these methods is mound drenching.  Pouring a few gallons of boiling water over ant mounds has a relatively high success rate, though usually not as effective as ant bait.  This can also be very time consuming, strenuous and dangerous.

As you set about to rid your yard of fire ants, try to keep your efforts as focused on this pest as possible.  Sometimes in light of recent fire ant stings, homeowners will set out on a warpath killing any ant around.  However, other, native ant species sometimes help control fire ant populations.  If your treatments don’t prove to be successful or more mounds continue to sprout up, a pest control expert should be contacted to help with fire ant control, because left unchecked, these ants can take over your yard.

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