Fire Ant Control
Red Imported Fire Ant Control
• Red Imported Fire Ant
• Scientific name: Solenopsis invicta (Buren)
• Bites and a Stinger Present: Stings are very painful and can cause hospitalization
• Reddish Brown with darker abdomen
• Two-Node Segments
• Uneven thorax, no spines, many hairs on entire body
Fire Ant Control Nest Sites, Characteristics, and Colonies
Fire Ant Nest Site/ Characteristics:
Fire ants are pests of the southern United States. Native fire ants rarely become structural pests. The red imported fire ant (RIFA) and black imported fire ant have spread to more than 13 southern and western states and continue to expand their range. These ants cause serious medical, agricultural and property damage. The RIFA is very aggressive and will sting repeatedly, especially when their colony/mound is disturbed.
Fire ants typically nest outdoors in sunny areas of exposed soil or lawns. If untreated, fire ant infestations may reach 30 – 100 single-queen mounds per acre, containing up to 80,000 ants. Over time, colonies may “link,” creating super-colonies of up to 250,000 ants. Mounds are rounded and range from a few inches to several feet across. Each mound has several tunnels just under the soil surface extending out several feet. After rain, nests in sandy soil are rebuilt with sponge-like surfaces. When disturbed, fire ant workers pour out of their mound and aggressively attack the offender.
Fire Ant Colonies
Colonies generally have their own territories. They forage in established trails. Red imported fire ants will sometimes nest in areas of exposed soil within buildings (e.g., bath traps). They also build outside nests adjacent to foundation walls and slabs. Fire ants are attracted to electrical junction boxes and air conditioners because of the electromagnetic natures of these 2 machines. They also nest in gas and water meter boxes and follow pipes into the building.
Red imported fire ants prefer high protein foods but will feed on almost any plant or animal matter.
Fire Ant Control:
Certain broadcast treatment will control fire ants for up to one year. Knockdown may take several weeks, so early-season application (November – February) is recommended. In-season (when mounds are active), a combination treatment of granular broadcast product and Fire Ant Bait or provides fast knockdown and long-term control. A two-step program of first applying baits, then following with direct mound treatments with a liquid insecticide a few days later.
Fire Ant Control Pro Tips to Remember:
Fire Ant Colonies can be spread across multiple acers. This means that the fire ants’ colony if not fire ant colonies in your yard is probably the same colony as the yards adjacent to you even across the street! Fire Ants are probably the ant that gets the most attention especially after an human or animal attack. Once a one lone soldier starts releasing attack pheromones the entire colony starts releasing it until it reaches the entire colony. Fire ants not only sting the bite causing two small puncher wounds sometimes people mistake for a spider bite.
We get the most calls for fire ant control a day or two after it rains. This is because all the colonies have been flooded and when building the colony back up the soil is damp and looks physically larger because of additional mass added to the soil by moisture. Once the moisture has evaporated the mounds will shrink back down and now hopefully there gone.
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