Friday, August 6, 2010

Fire Ants...Disappeared with the heat?

With the summer heat, fire ant mounds seem to disappear. Unfortunately, this really is not the case and when you add a little water (via irrigation or rainfall) mounds pop right back up. With heat and lack of water, the fire ants go hide out underground and try to get closer to the water table.

Some people may still be seeing signs of fire ants even though they are not seeing mounds. This is the case at my house. I have fire ants that are hanging out near my driveway, but I'm not seeing any mounds. So what can one do to combat fire ants when temperatures are soaring?

If you go with a bait, then you want to treat in the evening when the dew has burned off the grass and it's cooler so the fire ants should be out foraging. Remember to use fresh bait and to always read and follow label instructions. You can use the bait as a broadcast over the whole yard or you can treat individual mounds (if you're seeing fire ants but no mounds like I am, then treat the whole yard). Most baits are broadcast with a hand held spreader, but some use a drop spreader; check the label for proper application equipment.

If you are seeing mounds, then you can choose to go with an individual mound treatment. If you want to use bait, sprinkle the bait around the outside of the mound, not on top of it. Fire ants do not forage for food on top of the mound, so if you apply the bait there, then you probably won't get too much control. There are numerous other products in a variety of formulations for treating individual fire ant mounds. Choose one that you feel comfortable utilizing and follow the label instructions. Make sure that you water in a product if the label instructs you to do so. Many times people do not achieve the control they want because they forgot to water in the product.