There are a few types of fire ants that you may encounter either in your home or on your travels. But regardless of which kind you come across, all fire ants have the ability to sting if they feel threatened. Ensure your family and property are protected from these menacing pests, with our home pest control tips and tricks.
Fire ants are among the most annoying pests around. These aggressive insects administer venomous stings that cause welts, blisters, nausea and other adverse reactions among people. They'll even attack house pets and livestock!
An invasive species from Brazil, the fire ant range continues to expand. Currently, fire ants are found in 11 southern states, including much of North Carolina.
Fire ants enter homes though small openings in the foundation, under doors or around windows. They spread quickly, so once you find ants in your building, expect to find more within a short period.
Whether you stumble across a fire ant mound in your yard or come across the insects inside, getting rid of fire ants quickly is essential. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate fire ant infestations with the right tools and methods.
Fire ants live in large colonies; more than 100,000 insects may live in just one fire ant mound. They spend much of their time searching for food, building underground tunnels that radiate out from mounds and erupt onto the surface. Fire ants prefer oily and greasy foods, so their foraging often brings them into homes and commercial buildings.
Ants are often attracted to food sources such as trash cans and dumpsters, commonly found around homes, offices, restaurants and buildings. Landscaping materials such as sod, soil and straw may also introduce fire ants to an area.
Controlling ants in residential and commercial areas requires a multiple-step approach. Prevention is an important first step; keeping trash and other food sources away from buildings is key. Removing the oily, greasy foods — and eliminating other insects that fire ants pray on — reduces food sources that attract ants.
Along with preventative methods, mounds may be treated by injecting chemicals into the fire ant mound, or by drenching the entire mound with liquid insecticide. Every ant must come in contact with the insecticide, a difficult task during hot months when ants hide deep within their mounds and tunnels.
Liquid or granular insecticides may also be applied over broad areas infested with multiple colonies. After chemical treatment, pruning shrubs away from foundations and walls helps deter insects from using branches as "bridges" to avoid treated areas.
Fire ant repeller made with DEET and other chemicals may add another layer of protection. Just keep in mind that homemade fire ant killer won't stop angry, stinging ants that have already come out of their mound. Instead, try other preventative fire ant repeller methods, such as dusting dry talcum or baby powder on tool handles to keep ants from climbing up and stinging.
While it is possible to repel fire ants, why take any chances with these aggressive pests? After all, if you've ever been stung, you know just how painful it can be.
Plus, do-it-yourself treatments and homemade fire ant killer rarely eliminate an entire colony. A successful removal requires multiple steps and specialized chemicals.