Fire ants weren't always a problem in the United States, especially in the Southeast where they're found on home lawns, commercial landscapes and other turfgrass sites. They originate from South America, primarily Argentina and Brazil, and were imported here through trade.
They cause a lot of problems for homeowners, golf course superintendents, recreational site managers and more due to their aggressive nature and massive colonies. So what exactly is the deal with fire ants and why are they such a problem for people?
The Problem with Fire Ants
Imported fire ants cost people millions of dollars in losses every year in the U.S. This is due in part to the colonies they build on the lawn. It's easy to spot a fire ant nest: Just look for the huge mound of dirt sticking up from the grass.
Another problem with fire ants is their aggressiveness. They attack anyone or anything that comes within a few feet of their nest. They can repeatedly sting the person, which is even worse when hundreds of ants are stinging at once. They release loads of toxins into the skin, which can cause immense pain, swelling and even allergic reactions that could lead to death.
Fire ants also have a negative effect on the agricultural industry. The large, hard dirt mounds are known to damage field equipment. In addition, the ants protect and encourage aphids and similar insects that produce honeydew, a commodity among the ant colony.
How to Prevent Fire Ants
Prevention is the key to stopping fire ant infestations and the damage they cause. However, just because you might not see their signature mounds doesn't mean the ants aren't present in the lawn. These invasive insects are capable of digging and building intricate tunnels beneath the soil, measuring as far as 30 feet away from the primary mound.
Preventing fire ants in the lawn comes down to taking these basic measures:
Create shady areas.
You're most likely to find fire ant mounds out in the open. They enjoy direct sunlight and will create several mounds in open areas. Plant trees, bushes and groundcovers in the lawn to give them fewer, and shadier, places to build their nests.
Kill the queen.
A fire ant colony can't survive without its queen. If you want to get rid of fire ants for good, starting with the queen is a good idea. Baits are a great option for killing the ant queen, but they shouldn't work too quickly. If they do, the workers will die before they can bring the bait to the queen.
Use fire ant control products.
Invest in bait that's formulated to kill fire ants. We suggest using Advion Fire Ant Bait. It contains indoxacarb, which works slowly enough to allow the workers to bring the bait to the larvae and queen, killing all the colony members within days. Antixx Fire Ant Bait is also a fantastic choice. It contains spinosad, a palatable ingredient that works within 24 to 36 hours after ingestion. Siesta is also a good option and helps you to take control of fire ants and their mounds.
Get Rid of Fire Ants with WinProOnline
If left ignored, fire ants can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damages. Whether you're a homeowner, a golf course manager or a lawn care professional, WinProOnline has what you need for fire ant control. Using baits and taking preventive action will help to keep these insects out of your turfgrass throughout the summer and beyond.