How To Kill Your Fireants Forever}

How To Kill Your Fireants Forever

by

Michael Gilbert

Does it seem every time you treat fireant mounds that more mounds pop up?

Are you tired of using poisons on your lawn and ruining the environment?

Does it concern you that your children and pets are being exposed to poisons?

What about the ‘runoff’ of poisons in lakes, rivers and streams and pesticides that are harmful to birds, bees, vegetation and other wildlife?

In this article you’ll learn

“Why poisons don’t work

“How smart fireants really are

“How to finally rid your lawn and life of these pesky and dangerous insects

“How to Kill Fireants once and for all.Naturally

What are red imported fire ants? What makes them different from native ants?

Red imported fire ants are medium-sized ants that build mounds of soft soil. They are rarely larger than 18″ in diameter. In cold, dry areas such as the High Plains of Texas, mounds are usually much smaller and harder to detect. When disturbed, fire ants emerge aggressively and sting. Their sting usually leaves a white pustule on the skin.

Other small to medium-sized ants that build small mounds will actually run away from disturbances and are not fire ants.

Harvester ants are much larger and make large bare areas with a single entrance hole to the colony.

Leafcutter ants are also much larger and do not have a distinctive built-up mound, but do have many entrance holes over a very large area.

Can I tell the difference between fire ants and native ants? How large are fire ants?

Some uncertainty comes from the fact that red imported fire ants vary in size (1/16 to almost 1/4 inch long), with the largest workers 2 or 3 times larger than the smallest. Native fire ants are less common in imported fire ant infested areas. Solenopsis geminata is the most common native fire ant species encountered. To the unaided eye, they are almost identical to red imported fire ants. However, S. geminata will have a few larger workers with large, square-shaped heads. These ants specialize in collecting and milling seeds.

What is the difference between single queen and multiple queen forms of the red imported fire ant?

Single queen (monogyne form): only one queen per colony or mound; slightly larger workers; members of colonies are territorial; mound densities usually 2,080 mounds per acre; fewer ants per acre.

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Multiple queen (polygyne form): dozens of queens per colony; smaller average worker ants; colonies are interconnected; mound densities 100 to 1,000+ per acre; more ants per acre.

How can I tell the difference between fire ants and termites?

Although most ants are recognizable, some forms of winged ants are often confused with termites, especially during the termite swarming season. The front pair of wings on ants is larger than the hind pair, while the four wings of termites are approximately the same size. Ants have “elbowed” antennae and a “thin waist” (narrow between the thorax and first abdominal segments). In termites, the thorax and abdomen are broadly connected and their antennae are straight and hair like.

What are carpenter ants and how do I control them?

Carpenter ants are usually larger than most other house-infesting ants. They vary in color from a dull black or reddish yellow color to a combination of black and dull red or reddish orange. Worker ants range in size from 5/16 to 7/16 inches long. Carpenter ants tunnel into wood to form nest galleries. If they go unnoticed for several years, they may cause significant structural damage. Outdoors, the ants use dead trees or tree limbs, stumps, logs or areas under stones as nesting sites. Once the carpenter ant nest has been located, control is relatively easy. Treatment options include use of a bait or residual contact insecticide applied as a dust or spray to the nest. Read and follow the product label for best results. It may be necessary to drill small holes in wall voids, baseboards, window and door sills to reach the nest or major part of the colony. Nests can also be removed and infested wood replaced, if feasible.

Where do fire ants come from?

Fire ants are from South America. They entered the U.S. through Mobile, Alabama, probably in soil used for ships’ ballasts. They were accidentally introduced around the 1930’s and have been spreading since.

We didn’t used to have fire ants when I was a kid. Why do we have them now?

Red imported fire ants are very aggressive, efficient competitors. Since the 1950’s, primarily in Texas, the ant has been spreading north, west and south. They now infest the eastern two-thirds of the state, and some urban areas in western Texas. The bad news is that they are probably here to stay. The good news is that, with relatively little cost and effort, you can prevent most of the problems they cause using currently available methods. Research efforts can result in even more cost-effective, environmentally sound fire ant management systems.

Are fire ants still moving west and north?

Yes, and south, too. With Texas’ border counties infested, they are likely to spread into northern Mexico. Their northward spread depends on temperature. Cold winters tend to push them back. Western spread is largely dependent on water. They will be found mostly in urban areas, creek bottoms, irrigated land, etc. (The entire Pacific Coast is fertile ground for infestation.)

Why do fire ants appear to sting at the same time?

Fire ants are sensitive to vibration or movement and tend to sting when the object they are on moves. For example, when fire ants swarm up a person’s leg, the person jerks or moves. One ant stings and this triggers the other ants to sting in response.

Are fire ant stings lethal?

Only a very small portion of the population will experience lethal allergic reactions.

What should I do if I get stung by fire ants?

There isn’t much you can do, except watch the affected area for excessive swelling, itching or redness, or other symptoms like shortness of breath, thickening of the tongue, sweating, etc. that could indicate a systemic allergic reaction. Treat stings as you would stings of other insects and keep them clean and intact to avoid secondary infections. Do not pick at the pustules, they will dry up on their own. If you pick at them you risk infection.

What if I have an allergic reaction to a fire ant sting?

Seek medical help immediately! If you are uncertain how your body will react, be sure to let someone know what has happened. It is best to be with other people that can assist you, if necessary.

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Are fire ants as lethal as killer bees?

This is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. They both attack en masse and can both cause fatal allergic reactions, but that’s where the similarities end. Africanized bees can overwhelm and kill even healthy non-allergic people, but encounters are rather rare. Fire ants can’t overwhelm a healthy, mobile person and even hundreds of stings are rarely fatal. But, fire ant mounds are extremely common. The chance of being killed by bees is higher if you encounter them, but the chance of being killed by fire ants is greater only if you are highly allergic, or cannot quickly get away from them. The chance of either is small.

Fire ants are killing the quail, deer, lizards, songbirds, horn toads, etc. Why isn’t anything being done?

Things are being done, but it’s not an easy problem to solve. First, using today’s methods of imported fire ant control provides only temporary suppression and, on a per area basis, costs money. Wildlife inhabit very large areas, making the cost of periodic treatments prohibitive. Research is being supported to document the impact of the imported fire ant on wildlife and evaluate management approaches. While some wildlife species are undoubtedly declining due to fire ants, there are other factors influencing the decline, such as land use practices and weather extremes. There is hope that the biological control agents currently under investigation will spread into wildlife areas and permanently reduce imported fire ant populations.

Are fire ants killing my trees?

The ants are mainly using the trees as a nesting place. Ants in mounds occurring at the base of the trunk are probably not causing any damage to well established trees, and may actually be helpful by preying on other insects that are feeding on parts of the tree, and reducing compaction by tunneling in the soil.

Why do fire ants get into laundry?

Laundry piles are convenient places that present lots of tunnels for the ants. Often, reports of ants in laundry occur following a flood or severe drought. Ants are observed in utility rooms, bathrooms or near the water heater where they have access to the area from outside. When it floods they move into any good dark place, but in drought conditions they tend to move to moist areas.

Why do fire ants get into electrical boxes or near power lines?

No one knows for sure but we think it’s because they draw energy from electrical sources which produce warmth for them. Which is why they are more active when it’s warm. They have been known to destroy power lines, large electrical systems if not treated.

Can fire ants be eradicated completely?

Red imported fire ants cannot be eradicated completely with methods available today. But with proper control methods, they can be eliminated temporarily from small areas. Their biology and spread make it economically, technically and ecologically impossible to eradicate them from larger areas such as forests.

What is the best product for killing fire ants?

A Product called Exxant is an all natural product developed in 1993. This product is all natural, safe for birds, bees, pets, children, lifestock, wildlife, and vegetation. Exxant was tested by Texas A&M University and has been proven to work. Exxant also offers a 100 of the mound in the first 2 hours. You’ll actually see the mound swarmthousands of ants will come out and start to wobble around like they are drunkand then die. A Remaining 40% of the mound will die over the next 5 days. Retreatment may be needed especially if the mound is near a sidewalk, street or home foundation where the mound goes under cement or concrete or even a tree. The key to using Exxant is patience.

How Deep Is a Mound?

You never know. We treated a ranch in Bryan, Texas and poured over 55 gallons into one mound and saw some of the mixture ‘pool’ in another mound over 40 feet away. It depends on how deep the tunnels go, how long the colony has been there and how wide the colony is. If the mound is near a sidewalk or street it’s assumed it’s larger that it appears. They build mounds near walkways and driveways because they do not like to be disturbed.

I’ve tried using baits, but they don’t seem to work.

We know. We hear that all the time. It’s why we created Exxant . There is a myth about feeding fireants baits. It’s the same myth about feeding fireants red pepper or oatmeal. Or pouring hot water in the mound. They are not very effective and they only move the mound.

However, fireants do not eat whole foods. They carry whole food into mound and place the food on the belly of the larva. The larva vomit onto the whole food and turn it into a sucrose. This process is repeated through 3 or 4 different larva to ‘refine’ the sucrose and to determine if the food is suitable for the queen. Other worker ants ‘suck’ up the sucrose and transport it to feed other workers and the Queen. If the whole food is a ‘bait’ or poison it will never reach the queen. Fireants are highly intelligent; their feeding process goes through 3 to 5 ants before the food reaches the queen. If one of the ants die in the process all of the tainted food (bait) is removed from the colony and the colony moves to a new location.

When and how often should I reapply Exxant ?

Spring and Fall and early mornings during the summer. You should treat a mound as soon as you see it which is typically after a good rain. The rain destroys fireant mounds and the reason you see mounds appear after a rain is because they are rebuilding their mounds as well as moving their tunnels above the flood line (below ground).

I can’t afford to treat for fire ants.

It’s really not that expensive, if done right. We’ve even treated large farms and ranches. Exxant sells it’s product for farms and ranches in 55 gallon drums. But remember Exxant is a concentrate so you get a lot of product for your money .

What are some considerations when using insecticides around water and well heads?

Many baits are poisons. Exxant is not a poison. But since Exxant uses all natural ingredients using Pine Oil (turpentine) and Ammonia (Fish Urine) we still recommend following the instructions. Exxant is safe for birds, bees, fish and water runoff but we don’t recommend using it directly in water. It is also biodegradable.

Can I purchase and spread fire ant bait on my yard without a “Private Applicators License”?

On your own property or on other private property as an unpaid volunteer, non-licensed private individuals can apply restricted bait products. None of the baits are restricted products, but several may only be obtained from distributors to professional pest control operators or landscapers. You do not need a license to apply Exxant .

I assume a license would be required to spread fire ant bait and insecticides as a commercial business and on public rights-of-way.

If you are paid for your service in urban areas, you will need a license. If you are using this on your private property you do not need a license.

Does the worker who is spreading the bait have to be licensed or can he/she work under a licensed supervisor?

If fees are rendered for the service, workers must work under the supervision of a licensed pest control operator.

Why should I care about fire ants if I live in an area that doesn’t have them?

You should care about fire ants because you could have them soon!

Michael Gilbert. Copyright 2008 www.fireantfighter.com

fireant.tamu.edu/ (Texas A&M University)

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