Yale Park Homeowners Association News and Information from the
Yale Park Homeowners Association
Yale Park Homeowners Association

Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Kimberly Schofield
Program Specialist-Urban IPM

Time to Treat for Fire Ants:

Since the recent rains, there have been more and more fire ant mounds popping up in landscapes.  Fire ant mounds are not only unsightly, but these ants are medically important.  They are aggressive and tend to come out of their nest by the thousands when disturbed.  This causes us to have no choice, but to use control methods to decrease their population.

Before treating for fire ants, one must first survey the area to determine the number of mounds.  If less than 5 mounds are present in a quarter acre plot, then it is advised to treat the individual mounds.  The individual mound treatment is the fastest way to get rid of the fire ant mounds, but it is more labor intensive and more costly to apply when compared to the broadcast baits.

If more than 5 mounds are present, then treatment should be broadcasted over the entire area.  A fire ant bait or contact insecticide may be used.  Fire ant baits are made up of defatted corn grit covered with insecticide and soybean oil.  Before broadcasting the fire ant bait, foraging activity should be assessed.  In order to test for foraging activity, place a potato chip or hot dog next to the mound.  If fire ants find the chip or hot dog within about twenty minutes, then it is a suitable time to broadcast the bait.  Fire ants will typically actively forage when the soil surface temperature is between 70 and 90º F, which is between May and September.  The delivery process of baits into the colony is so effective, that the amount of insecticide applied in an area is significantly reduced.  Fire ant baits should never be watered into the soil and they should not be applied if they smell rancid.

Also contact insecticides can be broadcasted over the entire area and need to be watered into the soil.  One contact insecticide containing the active ingredient fipronil can be used for fire ant control and will usually provide 9 to 12 months control.  Both fire ant baits and contact insecticides can be broadcast using a hand-held spreader for small areas or a Herd Seeder can be mounted onto a truck or ATV for larger areas.

Before applying any type of pesticide, always be sure to read and follow the pesticide label.  Also, never use harmful toxins, such as gasoline to control fire ants.  These products are illegal and dangerous.  Also, never leave insecticide baits on streets or walkways after application, in order to avoid unnecessary entrance into the water supply.

For more information, please visit the fire ant webpage at http://fireant.tamu.edu.

Fire Ant
Red imported fire ant worker.
Photo by Bart Drees, Texas A&M University.

Egg, larval stages, pupa and adult fire ant worker
Egg, larval stages, pupa and adult fire ant worker.
Photo by Bart Drees, Texas A&M University.

Mention of commercial products is for educational purposes only and does not represent endorsement by Texas AgriLife Extension or The Texas A&M University System.  Insecticide label registrations are subject to change, and changes may have occurred since this publication was printed.  The pesticide user is always responsible for applying products in accordance with label directions.  Always read and carefully follow the instructions on the container label.

Email Mark Solomon Link to www.Assurnet.biz website

Email Abby Miller Link to www.FathomRealty.com website

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