How to Kill Fire Ants

 

In the U.S. there are six species of fire ants, and none of them are welcome in our yards. These ants do more than overrun vegetation and cause unsightly mounds- they bite humans with a vengeance. From the Southeast to the Southwest, fire ants are a continual problem that must be dealt with in order to keep families safe from bites that are potentially deadly.


In the Southeast, 25,000 people every year seek medical attention for painful fire ant bites. These bites can cause serious reactions such as shock and potentially fatal allergic reactions. Those who don’t seek medical
attention are left with painful and unsightly pustules that can number in the hundreds. The pustules can leave scars as well as lead to serious bacterial infections.


Each fire ant mound can have as many as 500,000 ants in it, most of which are poised and ready to attack if their home is disturbed. Fire ants are aptly named- they spread like fire when their anger is aroused. They have no natural enemies and are extremely aggressive.


When a fire ant mound presents itself near your home or business, there is little choice but to kill the fire ants completely, wiping out the entire colony. If left to thrive, they can overtake your vegetation, destroy your garden and pose a threat to the people who live and work near the mound and even attack household pets.


Why Are Fire Ants Here?


Fire ants are so invasive and destructive largely because they are not native to the United States. In the 1930s, fire ants were introduced into the U.S. through cargo shipments and took hold

of the environment, thriving in the Southern heat. They then

spread throughout the South via trucks and overland migration.

Fire ants have now reached as far west as California.


What Has the Government Done?


In the 1960s and 1970s, a massive government undertaking to eradicate fire ants was enacted. Workers dropped pesticides from planes and on the ground in a futile and expensive attempt to destroy fire ants across 140 million acres in the South. After the government eradication program ended, fire ants had expanded their territory and remain a threat today.


Currently, fire ants cause about $6 billion in damage each year in the United States by destroying crops and livestock and causing medical problems. Because the widespread attempt to kill fire ants was such a failure, the preferred method today is to attack fire ants one mound at a time. If you see a mound, it’s your job to eradicate it to prevent problems.


How Do You Kill Fire Ants?


There are a number of methods for killing fire ants, but no matter which approach you take, it’s important to kill the entire mound. Simply disturbing a mound may push the ants to move elsewhere. Killing only half the ants will slow the expansion of the mound but will not eradicate the threat of swarming and bites.  


Look through the pages of this site to find out about the many methods use to kill these invasive insects, how to identify a fire ant hill and how to stay safe around mounds.

 

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