I've been receiving numerous calls lately about fire ants. Yes, the mounds have been popping up, especially after the rain we had recently. People have been using fire ant bait, but are frustrated that the fire ants are not dying. So what could be the problem? First of all, check your fire ant bait. Since bait is a food item, albeit for the ants and not us, it can go rancid. Smell the bait to see if it has gone bad. Fresh bait should either have no smell or a light, slightly nutty corn-like smell. If the bait is rancid you will most certainly know....it smells....bad. If the bait is rancid, you should buy new bait and dispose properly of the old, rancid bait. Secondly, before you broadcast bait, you need to make sure that the fire ants are actively foraging for food. Many times, they may be active excavating their mound, but the won't be picking up food. To check if fire ants are foraging, place a small amount of bait, a piece of hotdog (the cheaper the brand, the better) or a potato chip near a mound. Leave the food item for 15-30 minutes, then come back to see if the ants are picking up the food and taking it back to the mound. If they are, you're good to go forward with your baiting. Lastly, be patient when using baits. Depending on which bait you use, it can take several days to several weeks to see results.
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