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In the Southeastern United States as well as a few other Western regions of the country, fire ants are a growing problem. If you’ve had infestation issues, you are looking for how to kill fire ants in a safe and effective way. Let’s look at the products and methods that work best.
Fire Ants first came to the United States via Mobile, AL in the 1930’s. Since then, they’ve move around the warmer areas of the country including the Southeast, Texas, and a few other states. While getting rid of fire ants on the macro level is virtually impossible, you can fight them effectively in a small area – like your own property.
Best method for how to kill fire ants
Research done at Texas A&M suggests that the best method for how to kill fire ants is what they call the 2 step method. This consists of applying fire ant bait to the area and simultaneously getting rid of ant mounds you find on the property. The cheapest way to do away with a fire ant mound is to dump near-boiling water on the mound which will kill the ants and destroy the nest. There are other insecticides you can use, but usually that isn’t necessary.
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Baiting can be done by a professional, but is also something that you can do yourself with products sold in stores and online. One of the most effective that is readily available for a DIY fire ant fight is called Amdro. This is a bait product that consists of small granules that you spread or “broadcast” across your property. The idea is that fire ants are attracted to the bait, and that they share it with the colony so their presence is eliminated. Typically you will use about one pound per acre, so you can count on about $15 per acre to be treated with fire ant bait. You can expect the process to take 2 weeks to a couple of months before really making a difference in your fire ant infestation.
When to kill fire ants
While the obvious answer to the question of when to kill fire ants seems to be “now!” you should be aware of the best times to kill fire ants. Most of the time early Fall is the ideal setting for putting out fire ant bait. Most baits are pretty slow in combating the ant population, so this allows plenty of time for the bait to work and you should see a significant decline in fire ants when the following Spring and Summer roll around.
Attracting ants to your bait
Even the most high priced, quality fire ant bait is going to be useless if no ants are taking the bait. The goal of course is to get ants to eat the bait, as this is the only way they will be killed. You may be concerned with how to kill fire ants if they won’t take the bait.
One key is to make sure you apply the bait either before or after the heat of the day. Most of the time you won’t see fire ants out moving around in very hot conditions. They will stay below ground until early evening or in the morning. You should distribute the bait around these times too, so you increase the chances that they will take it. Another thing you can do is put out some real food alongside the bait to help induce fire ant activity. I’m sure you’ve seen ants come from all over to munch on some fruit or other snack dropped at a picnic – use this technique with your bait!
How frequently to bait fire ants
This isn’t a “one size fits all” answer, because there are plenty of variables like the mating patterns of your ants and in general the size of the area you are treating and how many are present to start with. However, usually if you treat in the Fall then you would want to put out more bait in late Spring. Fall is the optimal time, but doing a twice a year bait cycle should keep your fire ant population minimized.
At any time you can spray fire ants with pesticides and other natural ant killers when you see them. This is treating a symptom, but when used in conjunction with baiting it can really be effective. Remember that baiting any insect should be done outside the home, or else you are basically attracting the ants in your home to eat the bait. This may not turn out how you hope, so it is best to keep the fight outdoors when possible.
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